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Europe

22 November 2018

Halt negotiations with Mercosur trade bloc

Negotiations on the treaty between the EU and Mercosur, which will prove profitable for – amongst others - the European automobile industry and the financial sector, continued last week. Mercosur is the South American trading bloc and customs union comprising Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela. The negotiations have for some time failed to make progress, because the Mercosur countries want to export more chicken and beef than the EU is willing to allow on to the internal market.

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15 November 2018

Great result for rail passengers' rights

Foto: Peter Bodensee / Pixabay

The European Parliament voted today by a large majority to improve rail passengers' rights. Expressing his delight at the result, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, said: “Despite attempts by the rail companies' lobby to weaken my proposal, it was accepted in full: better compensation in the event of delay and more immediate support for people with limited mobility.” Referring to the Netherlands' own national carrier, he said that “the NS can no longer hide behind 'falling leaves' or 'frozen points'. Provided the Parliament's report is accepted in negotiations with the Council, serious delays will mean the passenger has a right to assistance and compensation”.

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4 November 2018

European Parliament can't wait to spend taxpayers' money

The money which the European Union has at its disposal is primarily dependent on a multi-annual budget drawn up for a period of seven years. This budget is decided by the member states, with the European Parliament enjoying no more than a 'veto or approve' vote. With the help of the European Commission, however, there's more to it than that for the EP. In all sorts of policy areas we are receiving in rapid tempo proposals for programmes. This involves a normal legislative procedure, one which gives the Parliament a role, and once a programme has been adopted it will be written in stone for several years, including its costs. This is fine for the EP, which thus gets a greater say. I don't understand, however, why the heads of government, such as our own Prime minister Mark Rutte, go along with it,. I would have thought they would be concerned to save taxpayers' money, but by agreeing to so many programmes they risk the multi-annual budget turning out to be very expensive indeed.

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25 October 2018

Growing conflict over MEPs' expenses

On 24th October a clear majority in the European Parliament voted to back proposals from SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong which aim to put an end to the secrecy surrounding the general expenses reimbursement for MEPs. Welcoming the vote, De Jong said: “It's idiotic that while most Members are in agreement with the need for improved transparency and accountability in relation to the payment of the €4,400 which they receive each month for office expenses, the EP Bureau, which has responsibility for this, is refusing to implement their decision. So I'm pleased that the Bureau, under the leadership of the Parliament's president, will be called out on this, now that my resolution has been carried. Hopefully this means that the matter can be resolved by the time of the European elections.”

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17 October 2018

Who runs our country?

After a year of debate and resistance from across society, the decision has finally been taken: there will be no abolition of the tax on dividends. The billions which this abolition would have cost the state, however, have now been been repackaged in festive paper and given, for the most part, to the multinationals. SP leader Lilian Marijnissen, responding to this news, said: “This was a chance for the Prime Minister to restore his credibility by making it clear that he understands that this money must not go to provide another gift to big capital, but should instead be invested in our society. Unfortunately, however, he has not chosen to take this course. This gift token worth billions of euros must and shall be handed to big business. Doesn't he understand that all those Dutch citizens who were simply happy that the abolition of the tax on dividends had finally been abandoned now feel that they've been taken for a ride?”

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10 October 2018

Call for a workers' 'Golden Share' heard all the way to Brussels

Foto: Femke Reudler Talsma

The SP wants workers to have a greater say in important decisions taken by the enterprise for which they work via recognition of a 'golden share'. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is also working on this issue, and SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong has signed ETUC's European Appeal and, at the demonstration in Brussels on 10th October, called on fellow MEPs to do the same. Without workers there would be no firms, so they should have a decisive vote in their direction and management, especially when it comes to mergers, branch closures, or divestment.

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8 October 2018

European Parliament supports UN Treaty to force corporations to respect human rights

The European Parliament has expressed its explicit support for a UN treaty that will make it compulsory for companies to respect human rights and give victims the right to go to law. In doing so the Parliament is looking to put pressure on both the European  Union and the representatives of the member states during the next round of talks in Geneva, which begin on 15th October.

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7 October 2018

Worldwide approach needed for the protection of refugees

This week SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk produced five questions and answers which the SP wants to see as the basis for the protection of refugees. These proposals proceed seamlessly from my own 2015 plan as well as from the Global Compact for Refugees which the UN High Commission for Refugees presented this month to the General Assembly. Support from the international community must be drastically increased and people should not be left to live for long periods in camps. The most vulnerable people who cannot stay in their region must be resettled. And an end must be put as rapidly as possible to the horrors which people have to confront on their way to a safe haven.

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6 October 2018

A just migration policy: Five questions for Jasper van Dijk

Promoting human dignity, equality and solidarity is our most fundamental principle. These values are poorly represented when you look at how refugees and other migrants are faring throughout the world. People traffickers earn huge amounts in organising life-threatening crossings to Europe, with thousands drowned as a result. People who lack the funds to pay a trafficker or who are not in a state of sufficient health to cross the sea in a small boat can't even take this risk. SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk advocates a truly just migration policy.

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