6 July 2017

An undermining of democracy from here to Tokyo

Foto: SP

The SP is completely opposed to the trade treaty with Japan presented today by the European Commission. SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur sees it as ‘an undermining of democracy from here to Tokyo’, and as a threat to workers’ rights, regulations designed to protect the climate and the environment, and democratic and transparent decision-making.

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5 July 2017

SP and allies in Council of Europe nominate imprisoned Kurdish leader for human rights prize

The United Left Group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which is headed by SP Senator Tiny Kox, has nominated Selahattin Demirtaş for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize for 2017. The nomination is supported in addition by the United Left Group (GUE-NGL) in the European Parliament, to which the SP is also affiliated, as well as the Netherlands-based Trans National Institute, and Kurds & Friends, a Dutch NGO which concerns itself with human rights in Turkey. The prize is presented annually to a defender of human rights in Europe or beyond. At the present time Demirtaş, leader of the Kurdish left party the HDP and chair of its group in the Turkish Parliament, is being held in prison under harsh conditions, accused of ‘activities which undermine the state.’

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23 June 2017

Trade treaty with Japan a threat to democracy and a sustainable economy

The trade treaty currently being negotiated between the European Commission and Japan (JEFTA) will allow corporations to take governments to court if they introduce measures to protect people and the environment. This can be seen in documents from the talks made public this evening by Greenpeace. The proposed treaty, in contrast to earlier commitments, contains no more than a few ineffectively mild agreements to promote sustainability.

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21 May 2017

Mineur: People in Sri Lanka deserve more than paper progress

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur recently visited Sri Lanka. The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean to the south of India. With a population of 22 million, it relies heavily on its textile and clothing industries, which account for 70% of the country’s exports, with the US as its principle customer and the EU in second place. A war which lasted for years between the Tamil Tigers and the Singhalese-dominated government ended with the Tamil Tigers’ surrender in 2009, but this failed to bring about real peace or equal treatment for Tamil citizens. It was human rights abuses following the surrender which led to suspension by the EU of its special trade relationship with Sri Lanka, known as GSP+. The renewal of GSP+ is being questioned by Sri Lankan textile workers and others who challenge the EU’s claims that workers’ rights have improved.

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20 May 2017

Sadet Karabulut: Stand up to Trump’s war policies

During the US presidential campaign Donald Trump gave the impression that he was the antiwar candidate, especially when set against his opponent, the hawk Hillary Clinton. He attacked, for example, the billions of dollars swallowed by American wars which, in his stated opinion, just led to more terrorism, more dead, more bodies. The US billionaire also stated, in contrast to some other candidates, that war and aggression would not be his first instincts. This was, together with his intention to normalise relations with Russia, one of the few attractive elements of what was otherwise a worrying and regularly even bizarre campaign.

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16 May 2017

EU Court rules trade treaties must be approved by member states

Foto: SP

National and regional parliaments must approve free trade treaties before they can definitively enter into force. That is the gist of the position taken by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest European Union court, which the European Commission had asked for clarification. What this means is that numerous comprehensive treaties negotiated by the Commission over recent years will now have to be presented to thirty-eight parliaments throughout the EU, giving the member states more power to halt controversial agreements.

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31 March 2017

Kox: restricting democracy gives terrorists what they want

At the international terrorism conference in St Petersburg this week, which SP Senator Tiny Kox attended in his capacity as president of the United Left Group of members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), he warned those present not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. "In far too many countries," Kox argued, "antiterrorism legislation comes at the cost of human rights, the constitutional state, and democratic institutions. That goes for a great many former Soviet Republics but also for a country such as France, where the state of emergency has been repeatedly renewed, in contravention of a PACE resolution proposed by myself and approved by the assembly a year ago." 

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30 March 2017

Karabulut: End the hunger in Yemen, end support to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's military intervention against Yemen began precisely two years ago last Saturday. The consequences have been disastrous: some ten thousand dead, millions of refugees and a shortage of almost everything else. Mass hunger threatens.Read more
29 January 2017

Points of agreement between Timmermans and Trump

This weekend has a great deal of justified criticism aimed at the policies of brand new US President Donald Trump, in particular his closure of the country’s borders to travellers from a number of Islamic countries. European Commission Vice President (and former Dutch Foreign Minister) Frans Timmermans is amongst those who have already protested. Yet this same Timmermans has co-authored the plan, that appeared this week, aimed at putting a stop to immigration from North Africa. Following the Turkey deal, Timmermans now wants to see a Libya deal. Of course the Commission’s choice of wording is less unpleasant than that of Trump, but the message and its effects will be similar: refugees, find salvation - but elsewhere. It already seems a long time ago that politicians dared assert that people who are persecuted are in need of protection.

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