16 March 2018

Say no to the sleepwet

This Wednesday, 21st March sees local elections in the Netherlands. On the same day, a referendum will be held on the so-called 'sleepwet'. To English speakers pronounced 'slapewet', the sleepwet has nothing to with sleep, but derives from the Dutch verb meaning to drag or haul. Its full title is 'the law on the intelligence and security services 2017 (Wiv)', which gives an idea of what will be being hauled in. The SP is conducting a campaign against the sleepwet. When we said 'listen to the people', we didn't mean eavesdrop on us

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12 March 2018

Real enquiry into shady appointment of Selmayr begins now

The debate on the dubious appointment of Martin Selmayr as Secretary General of the European Commission left SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong feeling reasonably satisfied. “The European Parliament voted virtually unanimously for the proposal which I presented along with the Greens to the effect that the Budgetary Control Committee of the EP should carry out a detailed assessment of the appointment procedure. The information presented by the Commission itself via Commissioner Gunther Oettinger fell well short of what was needed. Not a single question was answered. But as a result of massive pressure from the EP he was forced to promise full cooperation with the enquiry. I'm already sharpening the knives, because as the spokesman on budgetary control for the United European Left group, I'll be taking an active part in the enquiry.”

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6 March 2018

ECJ ruling beginning of the end for ISDS

“This is the beginning of the end for ISDS”, says SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur in response to the claim from Dutch company Achmea against the Slovakian government, a claim thrown out today by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The judgment calls into question some 200 arbitration sections in around the same number of investment treaties between EU member states, but also offers encouragement in the fight waged for several years against the inclusion of such sections in the trade and investment treaties which the EU is currently seeking to conclude with countries and blocs outside the Union.

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6 March 2018

SP joined by Labour, Green Left and 50PLUS in call for equal pay for equal work

The SP, the two centre-left parties Green Left and PvdA (Labour) and the seniors' party 50PLUS are calling for an end to inequality between men's and women's pay. The four parties have joined hands to present a legislative proposal to the effect that organisations with more than fifty employees will be required to demonstrate that they pay men and women equal rates for equal work. To that effect a certification system will be introduced, and it will be obligatory to present every three years statistics regarding salaries paid to employees. In the event of unequal pay, the employer will be given the chance to improve the situation. If nothing is done, fines will be imposed.

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6 March 2018

Parliament supports SP: Failing Brussels Fake News Bureau Must Close

A majority in Parliament's main legislative chamber today supported a proposal from SP Member Peter Kwint and MPs of the centre-right governing party the VVD. The government will now be obliged to put pressure on the EU authorities to close the controversial fake news bureau, 'EU vs Disinfo'. The bureau's ostensible function is to combat fake news, but it has itself issued false report after demonstrably false report. “The government didn't want this, but Parliament was insistent,” said Kwint. “We don't want Brussels bureaucrats distributing seals of approval for so-called 'good' journalism and scolding 'bad' journalists. No government should be starting down that road.”

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5 March 2018

Brussels should leave our free press alone

Monday, Dutch public news channel NOS broadcast a special programme on fake news. They had good reason to. We are confronted by fake news more than ever before. Any nutcase with an internet connection can throw out into the world the greatest nonsense possible. And if foreign powers want to interfere with our elections, the security services have to be on the ball. In addition, a permanent commitment to critical learning about how to deal with sources and with information is needed.

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1 March 2018

EU has still learnt nothing from opposition to TTIP

We were after all clear enough about this: treaties such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the TTIP, are not wanted. Nobody's got anything against trade which is fair, but what we don't want are the sort of measures from the European Commission which mean that it's party time for multinationals. This was shown by the number of signatures on petitions, the number of letters I received from people in all walks of life, the huge numbers of demonstrators who got out on the streets, and the incomparable number of people who took the trouble to participate in the debate. Yet in the new mega-treaties that are on their way – with Mexico (population 124 million), Japan (126 million) and the Mercosur countries of South America (126 million) - there is nothing to suggest that the Commission has listened to what the people want for as much as a second.

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26 February 2018

Prosperous towns should play their part in accommodating refugees

Foto: SP

Millions of people are being forced to leave their homes by dire poverty, terrorism, natural disasters, human rights abuses or war. A long, hard path awaits them. Reports appear by the week of refugees who failed to survive their flight. We must tackle the fundamental causes of this situation. That means halting the bombing and the unjustifiable wars, stopping facilitating tax evasion and tax avoidance, and giving priority to combating poverty and inequality instead of to profits.

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22 February 2018

PM must set clear limits to EU actions

More EU. That's the short version of the most important and at the same time the only message which the European Commission has in store for the member states when it comes to the future of the European Union. SP Member of Parliament and spokeswoman on European affairs Renske Leijten is having none of it. “When for the first time in history a member state – the UK - is taking its leave of the EU, the European Commission is presenting one proposal after another for the EU to integrate still more quickly and still further,” she says. “So the EU budget should be increased by 10%-20%, six new member states will be admitted in 2025, changes in the euro will give member states even less control of the budget and the banks, and local authorities will soon be paralysed if they adopt policies that impinge on the interests of the internal market. The European Commission should just take a step back and take a look at what's really needed instead of always looking for European solutions. In the SP's view that means less money for the EU and more control for the member states.”

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