News 2005

27 December 2005

Dutch cabinet not prepared to show its hand over Afghanistan

The lower house of the Dutch parliament, the Netherlands' most important legislative body, has not received a clear answer to the question it posed the government as to whether the cabinet has or has not taken a decision on the sending of military forces to the south of Afghanistan. SP Foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel, criticising the government's reticence, said: “The cabinet is obviously not prepared to take any position now that the smallest party in the coalition, D66, has come out on the same side of the argument as the SP, opposing the sending of troops.”

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20 December 2005

Van Geel’s asbestos ‘success’ is so much hot air

SP Member of Parliament Krista van Velzen is astonished by the celebratory tone adopted by Secretary of State Pieter Van Geel in relation to his negotiations with asbestos corporation Eternit. In her opinion, the results of these negotiations are thoroughly disappointing. “The SP, with extensive parliamentary support, has argued for the costs of cleaning up asbestos-related pollution to fall on the company, but this subject turns out to have been shoved to one side. The reality is that Van Geel has come back empty-handed.”

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19 December 2005

SP votes in favour of sending observers to Sudan

The SP's political group in the 'Tweede Kamer', the lower (and legislatively more important) house of the Dutch Parliament, has decided that the desirable and responsible course of action in response to a United Nations request for limited participation in an observers' mission to Sudan is to vote in favour, as SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel stated during today's parliamentary debate with the government.

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19 December 2005

‘No more troops to Afghanistan is the sensible decision’

The Dutch government has not yet had the courage to take a decision on the sending of troops to southern Afghanistan. Such a decision should have been taken today, but has been postponed to Thursday, when attempts will have been made to bring D66 ministers into line. The smallest of the governing parties has this week, against expectations, spoken out against participation in the mission. “The government must have nothing to do with the plan”, says Harry van Bommel. “That would be the best decision for both the Afghan people and Dutch soldiers.”

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18 December 2005

Irrgang: WTO agreement extremely disappointing, EU position hypocritical

According to SP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang the WTO agreement reached at the end of last week is “extremely disappointing. The agreement includes hardly any commitments from developed countries on the running down of their export subsidies but what it does include are dangerous agreements regarding the liberalisation of services in developing countries. The promise that this round of negotiations would be a 'development round' is now dead and buried. The EU is hypocritical because once again it has given little thought to anyone's interests but its own.”

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17 December 2005

Van Bommel gives 'bridging budget' two cheers

In the SP's opinion the results of the negotiations over the EU budget are unimpressive but acceptable. SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel said “This is not the forward-looking budget which we needed to see come out of these talks. It is disappointing that a number of urgent issues have been left for the future. But as a bridging budget it just about passes muster.”

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