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Blog Dennis de Jong

3 September 2017

The European Commission shakes its fist

Last week Commissioner Frans Timmermans didn’t pull his punches: to save the rule of law in the country, the European Commission would be coming down hard on Poland. At the same time the British were informed by the Commission’s Brexit negotiator that they had presented no real proposals and that the talks would be held up. And then, to cap it all, Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced that he had a sixth scenario up his sleeve designed to make the EU into a true political union, or, as you might put it, a superstate. He had till then said nothing of this, because that would have given opponents too much time to mobilise resistance amongst the member states. You could be forgiven for forgetting that European Commissioners are merely high-level civil servants. It’s time we got rid of them.

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27 August 2017

Consumer rights: the struggle continues

For years the European Commission has attempted to harmonise consumer protection laws across the EU, so that if you buy something in another member state, you know precisely what your rights are. Consumer organisations have, however, been doubtful about this. No wonder when you see that the current proposals threaten, for example, to reduce the duration of guarantees. The solution is simple: a minimum level of protection could be laid down at EU level, while individual member states retain the right to give additional protection should they see fit. From the point of view of big corporations, however, this goes against the grain. What they want is a lower level of protection and the same level throughout the EU. Those who always want the most, however, often end up with nothing at all. Let’s hope that this is what happens in this case, too.

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20 August 2017

The European Parliament isn’t going to solve the problem of terrorism

Just before the summer recess the European Parliament took the decision to set up a special committee on the fight against terrorism in the European Union. Its mandate is broad, but my prediction is that the result of its deliberations will be to propose that the EU must be given more powers in this area, and perhaps once again that a new or strengthened EU institution must be added to the mix. Thirty of my fellow MEPs will study the issue for a whole year, yet to be effective, a struggle against terror must emphasise preventive work in the neighbourhoods and on the streets, enforcement by sufficient personnel and sound cooperation, all of which are national competences. This committee is therefore no more nor less than a waste of money.

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13 August 2017

Can football ever become a game again instead of a marketplace?

Unprecedented millions have been paid out on transfers of footballers during the last few weeks. One Dutch daily, AD, discovered that the twenty English Premier League clubs have so far spent more than a billion euros on new players. The commercialisation of the game (or at least the man’s game) has thus got completely out of hand. Unfortunately it’s seen principally as a market in the European Parliament, too, while the Dutch women’s team have demonstrated that you can have exciting matches without such exorbitant sums. It would be a fine thing if EU rules could make football once again a real game.

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6 August 2017

Brussels and The Hague must stop ignoring Calais situation

In June the first death occurred, when a Polish truckdriver crashed into a row of lorries which had to stop suddenly because some migrants had blocked the road with a tree trunk. Truck drivers are still going to Great Britain, but for how long? Once again a time is fast approaching when it will be too late to act, and yet once again the European Union decision-makers in Brussels, and the Dutch government in The Hague, remain worryingly quiet, while the government in Paris blunders on. In the Netherlands we have started a petition calling for safe parking places and protection of the roads leading into Calais. Beyond that, I want to see action from the European Commission and the Dutch government. Our drivers deserve better.

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30 July 2017

What can you do about Greece’s anti-social judges?

In recent weeks a great deal of justified criticism has been levelled at the Polish government’s proposals, which have the support of the country’s Parliament, to give the holders of political power the right to hire and fire judges. Judges should be independent so that when necessary they can protect the citizenry from governmental power. But what can you do about rulings from national judges that involve a direct attack on social rights, as was recently the case in Greece? The left Greek government was immediately lumbered with a major problem. Did the division of powers have to be so thorough that the government could not criticise such a ruling?

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17 July 2017

Internet services from abroad are now cheaper. Should we rejoice?

A few weeks ago new EU rules were introduced making phone calls, text messages and information  sent via the internet  the same price from other member states as they are within the Netherlands. Dutch former European Commissioners Neelie Kroes and Viviane Reding were jubilant:  you see, the EU is there for you too! But dig a little deeper and you’ll find all sorts of exceptions and that the whole thing is pretty complicated. And dig still deeper than that and the question will arise: if there really is a market for telecommunications, why does the EU have to stick its oar in? Isn’t such communication everyone’s right and isn’t it then a service for everyone?

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9 July 2017

So what kind of European cooperation do we want to see?

Last week I wrote about the plans to further the project for a European superstate. I received a large postbag in reaction to this. People were shocked by how far these plans had got, but others wanted to know how the SP would like to see European cooperation organised. You can find the broad lines in our election manifestos: yes to cooperation, no to a superstate, and so no to a European government. Yet for all of those European Commissioners who see their right to exist as resting on the issuing of ever more fresh EU directives and regulations, this won’t do at all. So we can do without them, and we have a lot more suggestions.

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2 July 2017

Pressure building up again for Superstate Europe

You can read now in ever more media that the European Union is developing a renewed élan. It’s said that citizens of other member states see the problems in Great Britain and all of a sudden are keen on having a strong EU. The European Commission wants an open discussion on the Union’s future, yet at the same time carries on irritably building a superstate, complete with a Minister of Finance, European taxes and a European army. Even the ceremony following Helmut Kohl’s death was used to demonstrate that the European state can organise a ‘state funeral’, complete with ‘national’ anthem. There’s only one answer to all of this: clarity regarding our critique of the existing system.

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25 June 2017

European Commission still sees market as more important than people

This week I took part in trade union protests against new proposals from the European Commission which will only make social dumping easier. The issue is the introduction of the ‘e-card’. Enforcement of regulations on working conditions will be made more difficult, as inspectorates will be obliged to accept the e-card issued in the worker’s country of domicile. The e-card gives information on the individual’s skills and his or her social security status. Even if it’s clear to the inspectorate that there are flaws in this information, they can do nothing. This is absurd. We’ve had just about enough of exploitation and oppression.

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