SP against budget increase sought by European Parliament

25 November 2010

SP against budget increase sought by European Parliament

The SP in the European Parliament today rejected the EP’s negotiating position in regard to the European Union budget. The Parliament is looking to urge the European Council to increase the budget and at the same time introduce new ‘own resources’, including direct EU taxes. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong described the proposal as a ‘wrong signal’. In the Dutch national parliament SP European affairs specialist Harry van Bommel had earlier stated the party’s opposition to the budget plans. It is expected that negotiations will be completed next month, after which a final vote will be taken on the definitive budget.

De Jong is not critical of every aspect of the report, noting that on some points the Commission has developed a new understanding of the issues. ‘They agree that temporary workers should have more protection in case of hardship,’ he says. ‘But the overall trend is negative. No attention is paid to the phenomenon of the working poor, despite the fact that more and more people are employed who can’t make ends meet. Just like in America, you’re seeing in Europe more and more people who have to take two jobs just to survive.’ A stark example of this is the situation in the postal sector, De Jong notes. ‘Cheap delivery services pay €3 an hour in order to undercut postal workers who are paid normally, and that’s got to stop.’

Intelligent choices for the future
With the current ten-year plan, the Commission, in De Jong’s view, is opting for the past. ‘Just as it’s becoming more and more obvious that flexible work contracts are not in the long term good for the economy as a whole, the European Commission is maintaining its attachment to this outdated concept.” A recent report from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands has demonstrated that labour productivity is higher where ‘flexibilisation’ is absent or less extreme. Employers are willing to invest more in training workers and the workers for their part feel more part of a firm and are more responsible on the shop floor. 'The Commission wants to see a better trained workforce, but this proposal puts the cart before the horse. I’ll do what I can to help the Commission with better proposals than those before us at the moment so that we can offer workers what they need – security in time of crisis.’

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