SP International

Harry van Bommel: Turkey’s repression crosses the line

28 Apr 2016Freedom of expression and of the press have been under pressure for some years in Turkey, a fact confirmed by the World Press Freedom Index published annually by Reporters Without Borders. In 2014 Turkey recorded a poor result, but fell further last year to as low as 151st, only 29 off the bottom position, and lower than Venezuela, Russia or Tadzhikistan. In comparison the Netherlands came second.

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Merkies summons ECB boss Draghi to Dutch Parliament

28 Apr 2016European Central Bank (ECB) head Mario Draghi must appear before the Parliament of the Netherlands to give an explanation of his policies. A majority in Parliament’s main legislative chamber voted on Thursday to support SP Member of Parliament Arnold Merkies’ proposal that Draghi be summonsed. Explaining the move, Merkies says ‘Draghi increasingly talks like a politician, yet no-one elected him. It’s time that he answered for his policies in front of representatives of the people.’

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Belgian French-speaking region votes to put brakes on CETA

28 Apr 2016The Walloon Parliament – the regional assembly which represents the inhabitants of Belgium’s French-speaking southern region – has voted to reject the signing of CETA, the trade treaty recently concluded between the European Union and Canada. As a result, Belgium will be obliged to abstain whenever the subject is raised in the European Council, the body which directly represents the heads of EU member state governments. With their vote in the regional parliament, which enjoys extensive powers under Belgium’s federal system of government, the Walloons have dealt the treaty a hefty blow.

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TTIP-'transparency' adds very little

27 Apr 2016The SP has reacted critically to the attempt by the European Commission to increase transparency in relation to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact, the TTIP. The publication on the state of affairs in the TTIP negotiations includes little relevant new information and only serves to show how far the treaty remains from completion.

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Van Dijk: Stop TTIP and CETA

26 Apr 2016Negotiations over the neoliberal trade treaties TTIP and CETA must be immediately halted, SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk said in today’s debate with Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen. "The TTIP is a constitution for multinationals," Van Dijk argued. "Europe will be flooded with American products if this treaty goes through. A race to the bottom in relation to wages, working conditions and consumer protection will clearly be the result. American corporations, moreover, will be able to lodge claims for millions of euros if the Netherlands introduces laws which threaten their profits."

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Kox: Tensions between Russia and Europe must be reduced

23 Apr 2016It is unintelligent and dangerous to continue to exclude Russia from international political fora, as has been the case in recent years. Russia is not only the country with the world’s biggest landmass, but also the most important neighbour of many of the rest of the world’s biggest hitters, bordering as it does on Europe, China, Japan and the United States and lying close to India and the Middle East. If relations between Russia and its neighbours are good, the whole world benefits. That’s why both Russia and Europe should be making more efforts to improve their mutual relations. The world can no longer allow the present tensions to persist. So said SP Senator Tiny Kox, chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) United Left Group, during a visit to Moscow.

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Council of Europe: EU-Turkey deal unsatisfactory

22 Apr 2016The deal between the European Union and Turkey over the return of refugees is in conflict with human rights and international law, according to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). SP Senator Tiny Kox, president of the United Left Group in PACE, hopes that the EU will take the criticism seriously. “This week the president of the European Commission told us in Strasbourg that he sees the Council of Europe as the most important touchstone for human rights in Europe,” he says. “Well, the deal has been tested and the result is: this deal won’t do!”

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Merkies: end shady fiscal constructions

10 Apr 2016If it were up to the SP, a parliamentary inquest would begin in the short term into the firms and individuals named in the Panama Papers. The SP has joined Green Left and the PvdA (Labour Party) in bringing forward a proposal to that effect. SP Member of Parliament and financial expert Arnold Merkies explains: "Every year billions of euros are lost to tax evasion and tax avoidance through shady constructions that remain well hidden from everyone. Money that could have been spent on health care, roads or education. The Panama Papers are bringing matters to light that should have been revealed much sooner, by means of a sound tax inspectorate and effective agreements with other countries. We’re still chasing after the facts. It’s time that tax havens and shady fiscal constructions were dismantled."

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Reclaim democracy: the elite don’t really know better

7 Apr 2016What a lot of severe criticisms were made, after all, about the referendum. What, once again, a great deal of scaremongering went on. The usual pundits, such as Trouw columnist Rob de Wijk, who saw the referendum as a danger to our democracy. But serious people too, like the vice-president of the Council of State Piet Hein Donner, who claimed that the referendum was in conflict with the autonomy of Members of Parliament. But you gave us, all the same, your advice.

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