De Jong: 'decisive action needed to combat growing poverty in Europe'

24 June 2010

De Jong: 'decisive action needed to combat growing poverty in Europe'

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong has this week submitted close to fifty proposals designed to offer a socially progressive way out of the crisis. That this is badly needed is demonstrated, he argues, by two pieces of research published during the week. A report from EU statistics body Eurostat shows that throughout Europe the crisis has seen a growth in the gap between rich and poor, and that nine out of ten Dutch citizens believe that poverty is either on the increase or remaining static, while a quarter find it hard to make ends meet. A separate enquiry demonstrated that at the same time the number of Dutch millionaires has risen by 15% in the last year. The SP's proposals come under three headings: tackling the causes of the crisis; preventing and combating poverty; and improving supervision of state finances.

Tackling the causes

Dennis de JongThe most important thing for the SP is the redirection of financial institutions and major corporations so that, amongst other things, they give workers a greater degree of control. De Jong also proposes measures to prevent social dumping and wage competition between countries. In addition, the SP wants the European Commission to launch an enquiry into when institutions and corporations become 'too big to fail'. If these firms go bankrupt they are rescued at the taxpayers' expense, because the fall of such institutions and corporations would have unacceptable social and economic consequences. The enquiry should indicate whether stricter anti-cartel regulations are needed..


De Jong argues that the enquiries' findings should be high on Europe's political agenda. "The European Council's current answer to the crisis is to leave the rich alone and, by means of a one-sided emphasis on spending cuts, make ordinary people foot the bill. That's what's happening now in Greece, where 58% of the people say they have difficulty covering their day-to-day costs." De Jong wants his proposals to get Europe moving. "I don't as things stand see a proper plan to combat tax evasion by the multinationals. We must establish a fixed minimum for corporate taxes in order to put an end to the 'race to the bottom´ between the member states in this area. That would be better than destroying Europe with spending cuts and running down social achievements under the guise of modernisation."

Ball in European Parliament's court

According to De Jong, there is now an opportunity to correct the European government leaders' orientation towards austerity via the European Parliament's temporary committee on the crisis. In this committee, conclusions will be drawn regarding the crisis and measures proposed to prevent any repeat. A good beginning has been made in the report from French social democrat Pervenche Berès, he believes. "One of the most important conclusions in the report is quite correct, that there is a lack of any social conscience in European rules, because of which many people see Brussels as a place for big business." The SP is concerned, however, by the report's proposals for new EU funds and new subsidies. "You can't, from Brussels, put pressure on the member states to make deep cuts and then add extra money to your own budget."

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