30 April 2018

Power and powerlessness in the supply of food

We've all seen it from time to time in the supermarket: food so cheap we ask ourselves how anyone can make money from it. How can a chicken or a bag of onions cost so little? Of course as consumers we're glad, especially if we're on a low income, but at the same time we have the feeling that somewhere along the way there must be losers. Who are the losers in the food supply chain? And what can we do about it?

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26 April 2018

The fall of Afrin

Foto: SP

'Operation Olive Branch' – it would be hard to come up with a more cynical name for the Turkish invasion of the northern Syrian town of Afrin. Since January 20th, when the first Turkish bombs fell, the invasion has cost hundreds of lives, while the world watches on. SP foreign affairs spokeswoman Sadet Karabulut, MP, continues to urge an uncompromising condemnation of President Erdogan's warmongering politics. She was interviewed by Leslie Arp for the SP monthly De Tribune, where this article first appeared, in the original Dutch.

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23 April 2018

EU treaty with Mexico rushed through

For the SP, the revised trade treaty with Mexico that the European Commission concluded during the weekend represents a huge disappointment when seen from the point of view of the protection of human rights or ethical business practice. “Obviously the European Commission finds getting one over on President Trump of more importance than fulfilling its own ambitions in relation to fair trade,” says SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur. “One after another, free trade agreements are being signed at a murderous pace, while existing free trade and globalisation are increasing inequality across the world.”

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18 April 2018

JEFTA is a Trojan Horse

Foto: SP

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur describes the 'agreement in principle' concluded today by the European Commission with Japan – JEFTA, or the Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement - as a Trojan Horse. “The controversial chapters on investment protection (the ISDS – Investor State dispute Settlement) and the transfer of personal data for commercial purposes are for the moment being kept out of the picture,” she says. “This is in the hope that the removal of trade tariffs will persuade the European Council and the European Parliament to approve the treaty. That's a very underhand way to pilot a controversial treaty away from democratic control.”

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14 April 2018

The attack on Syria

Last night the US, UK and France launched a series of air raids on military targets controlled by the Assad regime in Syria. According to the three countries' own statements, this was in response to a gas attack by the Syrian army earlier this month. The Netherlands has expressed support ('understanding' in the jargon) for this military action by the western powers. This is completely misguided, because the American-led attack is, just as was the gas attack, a breach of international law.

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6 April 2018

Government ignores clear ‘No’ from the people

The government is refusing to make serious adjustments to the ‘Sleepwet’, the proposed law extending the powers of the security services, despite the clear no in the referendum on the issue. The SP agrees that our secret services must be able to pursue concrete suspicions of terrorist activities, but not with the collection of random data from innocent people. Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongren has renewed her promise that the security and intelligence services would apply the law with caution, but has refused to remove their right to collect random data in the ‘sleepnet’. This undermines any faith in government promises and completely ignores the voters’ ‘no’.

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6 March 2018

ECJ ruling beginning of the end for ISDS

“This is the beginning of the end for ISDS”, says SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur in response to the claim from Dutch company Achmea against the Slovakian government, a claim thrown out today by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The judgment calls into question some 200 arbitration sections in around the same number of investment treaties between EU member states, but also offers encouragement in the fight waged for several years against the inclusion of such sections in the trade and investment treaties which the EU is currently seeking to conclude with countries and blocs outside the Union.

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1 March 2018

EU has still learnt nothing from opposition to TTIP

We were after all clear enough about this: treaties such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the TTIP, are not wanted. Nobody's got anything against trade which is fair, but what we don't want are the sort of measures from the European Commission which mean that it's party time for multinationals. This was shown by the number of signatures on petitions, the number of letters I received from people in all walks of life, the huge numbers of demonstrators who got out on the streets, and the incomparable number of people who took the trouble to participate in the debate. Yet in the new mega-treaties that are on their way – with Mexico (population 124 million), Japan (126 million) and the Mercosur countries of South America (126 million) - there is nothing to suggest that the Commission has listened to what the people want for as much as a second.

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26 February 2018

Prosperous towns should play their part in accommodating refugees

Foto: SP

Millions of people are being forced to leave their homes by dire poverty, terrorism, natural disasters, human rights abuses or war. A long, hard path awaits them. Reports appear by the week of refugees who failed to survive their flight. We must tackle the fundamental causes of this situation. That means halting the bombing and the unjustifiable wars, stopping facilitating tax evasion and tax avoidance, and giving priority to combating poverty and inequality instead of to profits.

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