Blog Dennis de Jong

3 April 2016

Keep an eye on Greece

Foto: SP
This week Wikileaks leaked a report from an internal meeting of the IMF off

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20 March 2016

SP and far-right have nothing in common – at home or in European Parliament

All of a sudden this week I have begun to receive Tweets and emails asking me whether the SP’s European Parliament team would ever cooperate with the extreme right. Normally I wouldn’t bother reacting to such a question, but because I’ve received so many concerned enquiries, I’ve decided in the interests of clarity to state categorically on this weeklog: with the Dutch PVV and their far right allies, the SP will not cooperate or work either at home or in Brussels.

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13 March 2016

The 'poor' life of a Euro-MP

In the next few weeks we'll be voting on the European Parliament's financial accounts, among those of other EU institutions. This might appear to be somewhat dry fare but read through the report on the EP and you'll occasionally come across something a bit spicy. The German Christian Democrat rapporteur believes that the cuts in spending have been a success. As far as the SP's concerned, however, there are still plenty of possibilities for further belt-tightening. The lives of Euro-MPs aren't really all that poor.

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6 March 2016

Ports are there for all of us

This week in Strasbourg we vote on the European Parliament's input into the negotiations over the new Port Services Regulation. In the past there has been a great deal of perfectly justified unrest surrounding EU legislation on this issue. Ports would have to be privatised. Pilotage must be subject to competition. Moreover, rules protecting port employees must be annulled.

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28 February 2016

Putting an end to the grip of big corporations on Commission’s advisory groups

The European Commission has some nine hundred separate expert advisory groups, from which its officials receive information which they use in the writing of legislation or in supervising its implementation. Traditionally these groups have been dominated by lobbyists from major corporations.

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21 February 2016

There’s only one crisis in Europe: Brussels’ failure to listen

These days, the leading players in Brussels are inclined to see themselves as victims. The world beyond Europe is hostile, or at least complicated. Within the EU member states, the public doesn’t understand, however much Brussels does its best to look after them. Merkel’s facial expression at this week’s European Council summit spoke volumes: don’t you see how much I’m battling for Europe?

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15 February 2016

We won’t leave small shops out in the cold

This afternoon we held an official round table meeting in the European Parliament on the retail trade. It was striking to note how the European Commission continues to expect all of the blessings of an increase in scale via the internal market and is principally concerned with massive chains of shops. If we look at the purchasing behaviour of consumers, however, they are showing more interest in discount stores and specialist shops, with the latter making the biggest gains. So the department store formula, the style of retailers such as the Netherlands’ own V&D, is no longer working.

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7 February 2016

Unreal atmosphere in Strasbourg

The refugee crisis, disquiet about the Polish and Hungarian governments’ completely idiosyncratic interpretation of human rights, a possible ‘no’ from the British to continued membership of the EU and from the Dutch to the Association Agreement with Ukraine, and a huge anti-austerity strike in Greece: things in Europe aren’t exactly tranquil. That was also true this week, by the way, of the European Parliament which gathered at Strasbourg for its monthly plenary. There, however, pressure came principally from running from one internal meeting to another.

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31 January 2016

European Commission disadvantages local independent shops

These are difficult times for retail. Chainstores are failing and there's a threat of large numbers of vacant shops in high streets. For some, the answer lies in dreaming up new formulas: small, creative shops often do well. In Rotterdam, for example, there's a crockery store and a shop where you can get everything to do with lighting. The European Commission is now proposing to force any shops which sell their stuff via the internet to deliver throughout Europe. They appear to have gone bonkers. We should be cherishing these creative local entrepreneurs. We badly need them.

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24 January 2016

Dutch PM has nothing to offer in Strasbourg

Last week the Prime Minister Mark Rutte presented the plans for the Dutch EU Presidency. To my request for him to show a little bit of vision, he dragged his old joke out of mothballs: anyone who doesn't have vision needs to visit the doctor. This is a superannuated gag from former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, the intention of which he moreover repudiated himself later. The reason that even the Dutch media showed hardly any interest in Rutte's speech was precisely this lack of vision.

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