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21 Jul 2017

Step up the pressure on Turkey

On Wednesday I received an answer from the government to eleven questions concerning the arrest of the head of Amnesty International and nine other human rights activists in Turkey. The government condemns the arrests and is currently preparing a common response with the rest of the European Union. In the recent past, on the SP’s initiative, the government has argued in favour of suspending Turkey’s ‘pre-accession aid’, the EU’s contribution to the country as it prepares itself for eventual membership. They are now repeating this demand, so it’s both striking and disappointing that the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs is not demanding the immediate release of these prisoners.

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20 Jul 2017

Historic Social Housing deal in Amsterdam

Foto: Laurens Ivens

Laurens Ivens of the Socialist Party, executive member of the city council responsible for housing policy, has brokered a far-reaching affordable housing deal in Amsterdam. The deal breaks fundamentally with former neoliberal housing policies in which 70% of the Amsterdam homes are allocated to the free market. With this radical turn the City Council of Amsterdam is striving to put an end to the alarming boom in soaring commercial rents and explosively rising mortgages for home owners. 

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17 Jul 2017

Pension off Belgium’s junk nuclear reactors By Sandra Beckerman and Ron Meyer

Foto: SP

Parliament had invited Belgian nuclear regulator FANC to come to The Hague to talk the accumulation of problems at the nuclear power stations at Doel and Tihange. This invitation was ignored, however, something of an insult to the Dutch Parliament. Not only the Netherlands but also Germany and Luxembourg are anxious to see neighbouring Belgium close these reactors because a disaster could have extremely serious consequences for people living in the region. Belgium refuses to listen, so it’s time to step up the pressure. 

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15 Jul 2017

Truck drivers angered by EU plans for road haulage

Foto: SP

78% of Dutch truck drivers expect competition from foreign drivers to intensify as a result of newly announced EU regulations, according to SP research which involved questioning 1,300 drivers. Last Saturday the European Parliament groups of the SP and the PvdA (Dutch Labour Party) organised a meeting with the drivers in response to the new rules. Dennis de Jong explained that with these new rules “the European Commission is making it even easier for firms to hire drivers from eastern Europe on starvation wages to do work previously done by Dutch drivers. We can’t accept that and we’ll be fighting in both the Dutch and European Parliaments in every possible way to get it off the agenda.”

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15 Jul 2017

We still need to rid the world of nuclear weapons

Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction, and they’re highly dangerous. Destruction of people, animals and the environment is a constant menace. The Dutch government must, if it is concerned about our security, take the lead in bringing about a world free of nuclear arms. It can do this by signing the United Nations treaty banning them that was concluded last week. This would not only establish a clear norm for nuclear armed states, it would also correspond to the wishes of the 122 countries which have already signed up.

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6 Jul 2017

An undermining of democracy from here to Tokyo

Foto: SP

The SP is completely opposed to the trade treaty with Japan presented today by the European Commission. SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur sees it as ‘an undermining of democracy from here to Tokyo’, and as a threat to workers’ rights, regulations designed to protect the climate and the environment, and democratic and transparent decision-making.

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5 Jul 2017

SP and allies in Council of Europe nominate imprisoned Kurdish leader for human rights prize

The United Left Group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which is headed by SP Senator Tiny Kox, has nominated Selahattin Demirtaş for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize for 2017. The nomination is supported in addition by the United Left Group (GUE-NGL) in the European Parliament, to which the SP is also affiliated, as well as the Netherlands-based Trans National Institute, and Kurds & Friends, a Dutch NGO which concerns itself with human rights in Turkey. The prize is presented annually to a defender of human rights in Europe or beyond. At the present time Demirtaş, leader of the Kurdish left party the HDP and chair of its group in the Turkish Parliament, is being held in prison under harsh conditions, accused of ‘activities which undermine the state.’

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5 Jul 2017

“We must follow up Panama Committee with a Parliamentary Enquiry,” says SP leader Emile Roemer

SP leader Emile Roemer is demanding that the parliamentary investigating committee on financial constructions must be followed by a Parliamentary Enquiry, which in the Dutch system has greater powers and higher status. The committee today published its report following interviews under oath from twenty-seven experts and involved parties. “The Netherlands is a magnet for corporations who want to enter into shady agreements which enable them to pay as little tax as possible on their profits,” says Roemer. “On top of that there’s 150 billion euros of Dutch capital parked in tax havens, which costs us ten billion euros a year in tax revenues. It’s good to know that tax evasion and tax avoidance are being investigated, but if we really want to tackle the problem then we need to hold a parliamentary enquiry. “

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27 Jun 2017

Enquiry into waste of money in EU ‘good first step’, says Leijten

Thanks to two SP proposals which won the backing of Parliament, an enquiry is to be launched into the cost to the Dutch taxpayer of financial transfers to the European Union. SP Member of Parliament Renske Leijten is pleased that there will at last be a measure of clarity on the matter. “Every year billions of euros are pumped around the European Union,” Leijten explains. “Member states must first transfer moneys to Brussels before doing their best to get some of it returned to them. Anyone with an ounce of sense can see that this system is time-consuming and expensive. It’s excellent that there will now be an enquiry into just how much money is involved. Then we can put an immediate stop to this wastefulness.”

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