Blog Dennis de Jong

5 June 2016

It’s five to midnight for the European Union

The countdown to the UK’s Brexit-referendum has begun. It’s striking how contradictory are the reactions to this here in Brussels. Last week the Polish president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, told a meeting of European Christian Democrat and other centre-right parties that we shouldn’t move too fast on European integration. A few days later the Belgian Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt asserted that without the UK on board it would be easier to move towards a really federal Europe. This shows how divided the European Union is and how fragile. The SP saw this coming years ago.

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29 May 2016

Will the European Commission really start to advocate secure jobs?

On this occasion not so much attention was paid to the event, but on May 18th the European Commission published its so-called 'country recommendations'. The SP is opposed to all of this meddling, but the document remains an interesting read, especially now that in one of its three recommendations the Commission states unequivocally that the growth in the number of one-person businesses is a problem which must be addressed. Is this the same body which for years was advocating 'flexicurity' and flexible employment conditions?

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22 May 2016

Action not words in the fight against crime

Every day Raoul can be found in his shop in Rotterdam. He is committed 100% to the business. It’s always a great pleasure to go there, and he’s always got time for a chat. Recently, his tone has been serious. He had been, as have so many of the town’s shopkeepers, the victim of a hold-up. Fortunately no-one was wounded – or worse – but the shock left its mark. The attacker in this case was a homeless man, but in many cases such attacks are carried out by gangs who roam freely across Europe.

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15 May 2016

EU in a panic, refugees and minorities the victims

At the moment we are debating in the European Parliament the European Commission proposal to establish an EU list of safe countries of origin. According to this proposal an asylum seeker whose request is refused following an accelerated procedure will then be sent back. If he or she comes from a ‘safe country’. Even the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights is protesting at this: how can you say that a country is safe for everyone? Turkey is listed as safe by the European Commission, but this isn’t the case for Kurds, or for someone who is simply an oppositionist.

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8 May 2016

European Commission must make good on promises to bona fide truck drivers

This week, on behalf of the truck drivers, I presented three sets of written questions to the European Commission. Evidently the Commission isn’t about to take any action off its own bat, despite all its fine-sounding promises. Fraud, exploitation and the mess surrounding passes for tollbooths don’t make the life of the average truck driver any more pleasant. Together with the member states the Commission could be tackling these practices, but its silence is deafening.

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1 May 2016

Mayday passes Brussels by

On June 1st yet another ‘European Business Summit’ will be held, at which almost the entire European Commission will be meeting with – principally - multinationals. The Commission always finds this a high point. Today is Labour Day, the Workers' Day. On this matter the Commission is a lot quieter. Not a single comment on their website. This shows how in Brussels it's multinationals who run the show. Real involvement of workers and the unemployed doesn't exist for the time being except as fairly empty words such as the 'social pillar'.

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24 April 2016

Bad smell hangs over European Parliament’s restaurants

With thousands of employees and visitors per day wanting to be fed, catering in the European Parliament is serious business. The EP recently changed its catering contractor, the aim being to lower costs and improve quality. Now it turns out that the change has led to a grave deterioration in the working conditions of canteen staff increasingly employed on zero-hours contracts, under which they must stay at the beck and call of the employer without knowing when or for how many hours they will be required.

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17 April 2016

Refugee deal with Turkey: Let the European Court decide

However proud Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte may be of the deal on the refugee crisis concluded with Turkey, the UN and NGOs such as Amnesty International have grave doubts regarding the deal’s legitimacy. Sending refugees back to a country where asylum procedures are not in good order is indeed in conflict with the UN’s refugee convention, as well as the European Convention of Human Rights. For these reasons I am supporting the initiative from a Spanish United Left Group MEP to request a decision from the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

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9 April 2016

How transparent are the diplomats in Brussels?

On 2nd May I presented the demand of the all-party Transparency Intergroup in the European Parliament for an obligatory transparency register to the responsible European Commissioner, Frans Timmermans. One of the questions with which we are still struggling concerns the position of the member states’ diplomatic representation in Brussels. Should the Dutch ambassador to the European Union also be obliged to receive only registered lobbyists?

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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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