Harry van Bommel: Turkey’s repression crosses the line

28 Apr 2016Freedom of expression and of the press have been under pressure for some years in Turkey, a fact confirmed by the World Press Freedom Index published annually by Reporters Without Borders. In 2014 Turkey recorded a poor result, but fell further last year to as low as 151st, only 29 off the bottom position, and lower than Venezuela, Russia or Tadzhikistan. In comparison the Netherlands came second.

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Merkies summons ECB boss Draghi to Dutch Parliament

28 Apr 2016European Central Bank (ECB) head Mario Draghi must appear before the Parliament of the Netherlands to give an explanation of his policies. A majority in Parliament’s main legislative chamber voted on Thursday to support SP Member of Parliament Arnold Merkies’ proposal that Draghi be summonsed. Explaining the move, Merkies says ‘Draghi increasingly talks like a politician, yet no-one elected him. It’s time that he answered for his policies in front of representatives of the people.’

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Belgian French-speaking region votes to put brakes on CETA

28 Apr 2016The Walloon Parliament – the regional assembly which represents the inhabitants of Belgium’s French-speaking southern region – has voted to reject the signing of CETA, the trade treaty recently concluded between the European Union and Canada. As a result, Belgium will be obliged to abstain whenever the subject is raised in the European Council, the body which directly represents the heads of EU member state governments. With their vote in the regional parliament, which enjoys extensive powers under Belgium’s federal system of government, the Walloons have dealt the treaty a hefty blow.

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TTIP-'transparency' adds very little

27 Apr 2016The SP has reacted critically to the attempt by the European Commission to increase transparency in relation to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact, the TTIP. The publication on the state of affairs in the TTIP negotiations includes little relevant new information and only serves to show how far the treaty remains from completion.

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Van Dijk: Stop TTIP and CETA

26 Apr 2016Negotiations over the neoliberal trade treaties TTIP and CETA must be immediately halted, SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk said in today’s debate with Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen. "The TTIP is a constitution for multinationals," Van Dijk argued. "Europe will be flooded with American products if this treaty goes through. A race to the bottom in relation to wages, working conditions and consumer protection will clearly be the result. American corporations, moreover, will be able to lodge claims for millions of euros if the Netherlands introduces laws which threaten their profits."

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Kox: Tensions between Russia and Europe must be reduced

23 Apr 2016It is unintelligent and dangerous to continue to exclude Russia from international political fora, as has been the case in recent years. Russia is not only the country with the world’s biggest landmass, but also the most important neighbour of many of the rest of the world’s biggest hitters, bordering as it does on Europe, China, Japan and the United States and lying close to India and the Middle East. If relations between Russia and its neighbours are good, the whole world benefits. That’s why both Russia and Europe should be making more efforts to improve their mutual relations. The world can no longer allow the present tensions to persist. So said SP Senator Tiny Kox, chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) United Left Group, during a visit to Moscow.

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