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17 April 2019

Borderless European market bad for cooperation

The Senate's annual debate on the state of Europe and the European Union – known by its Dutch initials as the AEB – was this year even more important than usual, as SP Senator Bastiaan van Apeldoorn noted in his contribution to the discussion. "On 23rd May we elect the European Parliament in the midst of Brexit, discussions around NATO, China and a European army, and an ever more unpredictable United States under President Trump, he said. “The SP shows that there's more to vote for than on the one side europhoric parties that want nothing more than to give more power to Brussels and on the other side xenophobic nationalists looking to turn their backs on European cooperation and do nothing about cross-border problems.”

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16 April 2019

European Labour Authority is so much hot air

The European Parliament votes today on the establishment of a European Labour Authority, a new agency to monitor the application of labour laws in the EU. In the SP's view this is a bad idea, as SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong explains: “Brussels keeps coming up with false solutions for problems which are in reality a direct result of the free movement of labour. Exploitation of Spanish workers in the Netherlands won't be solved by a new agency in Cyprus or Slovakia. What's needed is for the capacity of national inspectorates to be sufficient for them to be able to do their work. Cooperation with other member states on cross-border issues can be handled via the existing European network, so there's no need for a new institution. This plan is just hot air.”

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15 April 2019

The nonsense of the 'Spitzenkandidaat'

Foto: SP

In the runup to the European Parliament elections, the German term 'Spitzenkandidaat' has spread into non-German-speaking countries. Hard to translate into English, but you get the general idea from the fact that the 'Spits' in football is the striker. Member states are obliged to use some kind of party list system in these elections, so the 'Spitzenkandidaat' is the lead candidate on these lists. However, in this terminology, the Spitzenkandidaat is a lead candidate across the EU. The title suggests that he or she is not confined to his or her own country, but is a European super-striker. A lead candidate electable in the entire European Union. A senseless suggestion, because in reality a candidate can stand and be elected in only one of the twenty-eight member states, and after the Brexit, just one of twenty-seven. The borderless nature of these 'Spitzen' says, therefore, more about their own egos than their electability.

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11 April 2019

'Enhanced legitimacy, credibility, impact, and relevance': SP Senator's resolution improves working of Council of Europe

Following hours of debate and months of preparatory work, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) this week agreed to proposals from SP Senator Tiny Kox aimed at improving the functioning of the Assembly and the Council of which it forms part.

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11 April 2019

SP urges introduction of compulsory visas for Albanians

Foto: No attribution

The SP believes that Albanians should be required to apply for visas to enter the Netherlands. SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk made this proposal during Thursday's parliamentary debate on the high rate of criminality amongst Albanian visitors to the country. Since 2014 Albanians have been able to enter the Netherlands freely as a result of the liberalisation of visa regulations, and this has led to an enormous upsurge in crime. This applies to relatively small-scale offences such as shoplifting and pickpocketing, and more serious matters like dealing in hard drugs, extortion and people-smuggling. This has been accompanied by a rise in demands for asylum from Albanians, applications which are very rarely successful because Albania is regarded as a safe country. Visa liberalisation occurred as a result of many EU member states' determination to accept Albania as a member of the European Union in the foreseeable future, despite the country's high levels of destitution and corruption.

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10 April 2019

EU Brexit negotiator has to go

Foto: kalhh

The entire process around Brexit has become a piece of political kitsch, according to SP Member of Parliament Renske Leijten. Leijten was speaking in Wednesday's parliamentary debate on the Brexit postponement. She applauded the fact that the British were to be given a longer period to make possible a plan which can find a majority in the House of Commons. “To date what we've seen is a political poker game, and a massive atmosphere of panic being created,” said Leijten. “What at the same time is going unmentioned is that the European Union's attitude has also contributed to the current impasse.”

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