Brussels shows what it really is: a neoliberal straitjacket

19 Dec 2014That countries which don’t belong to the EU will now come under European Economic Governance reveals a dangerous level of audacity, argues SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel.

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SP: Timmermans’ list has little to commend it

16 Dec 2014With a great deal of fuss, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and his right-hand man Frans Timmermans – until recently the Netherlands’ Foreign Minister – today presented the Commission’s new work programme. The SP finds little to commend in this programme, as the leader of the party’s group in the European Parliament, Dennis de Jong, explains. ‘Some fifty-five of the eighty proposals which the Commission has withdrawn were in any case out of date,’ he says. ‘At the same time the Commission is taking new powers to itself with this programme. They do this with the “reform contracts” in the framework of economic governance, in relation to fiscal policy and energy policy, and via the launch of a “capital union”. Moreover the Commission is using its right to withdraw proposals for its own political ends: they will withdraw a proposal if the outcome of negotiations between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, who between us decide the final text, doesn’t suit them.’

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Jasper van Dijk: government needs to maintain credibility when it comes to schools in war zones

16 Dec 2014It’s beyond comprehension that the government has withdrawn from the struggle against the misuse of schools in times of war, says Jasper van Dijk.

The government must stay active internationally to back the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. In addition it should itself adopt the Guidelines in its military policy, doctrine and training. If not, it will have little remaining credibility as a leader in the struggle for peace and justice globally.

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‘Accepted but unwanted’: refugees from Syria seek aid in Turkey

11 Dec 2014Party Secretary Hans van Heijningen and Member of Parliament Sadet Karabulut recently visited South-Eastern Turkey in order to see with their own eyes the situation of refugees there. Reporting on the visit, Van Heijningen says that ‘the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the flood of refugees which this has brought about have put the fragile peace process between Kurds and Turks under ever greater pressure.’

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SP: EU shouldn’t let up on the fight against corruption

3 Dec 2014According to those responding to the survey by Transparency International (TI) published today, ‘Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2014’, corruption has somewhat declined within the EU. Commenting on the findings, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong says that while ‘in itself this is good news’, nevertheless ‘the scores for countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Italy remain well below an acceptable level. Moreover, TI points out and with good reason that countries with good results can at the same time be giving wide leeway to multinationals to employ bribery elsewhere.’ De Jong will shortly be producing a new version of the action plan against corruption that he drew up with a group of like-minded MEPs in 2011, a plan which inspired the last European Commission to publish its own report on corruption.

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Closed! Israel refuses access to Gaza to Council of Europe delegation

1 Dec 2014Going back on previous agreements, Israel today refused access to Gaza to a delegation from the Council of Europe. The delegation, which wanted to look for itself at the results of the summer war, handed an official protest to the Israeli government and Parliament (the Knesset). SP Senator Tiny Kox, who was on the delegation, said that ‘Israel has closed Gaza to us. That’s in conflict with the rules of our Assembly, in which Knesset Members also take part as observers. Moreover, it’s counterproductive. People who close the door evidently have something to hide.’

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