News November 2014

30 November 2014

SP Senator Kox: 'Palestinians hope that Europe will now press on'

In Palestine hope is growing that European countries and the European Union will now press on with recognising their country and in so doing exert pressure on Israel to bring an end to almost fifty years of occupation of Palestinian territories. This was Senator Tiny Kox’s view of the situation during a Council of Europe working visit to Palestine and Israel.

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26 November 2014

Kox welcomes pope’s message on poverty

SP Senator Tiny Kox has welcomed Pope Francis’ message to Europe delivered last week in Strasbourg. ‘During his speeches last week to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe, the Pope pulled no punches when it came to growing poverty, exclusion and indifference in Europe,’ says Kox. ‘Full of conviction he made it clear that human rights were incompatible with such injustice.’ The leader of the Catholic world took a position in plain language against the arms trade, people trafficking and the dominant influence of multinationals in politics and society. ‘I’d like to see European heads of government who dared to express themselves in such clear terms,’ adds Kox. ‘But at the moment they’re pretty thin on the ground.’

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23 November 2014

European Commission threatens to leave small firms in the lurch

Michaël van Straalen, president of MKB-Nederland, which represents small and medium-sized Dutch firms, during the SP’s day for smaller businesses

Since 2009 the Commission has been examining new legislation for its effects on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This ‘SME test’ forms part of the impact assessment which the Commission must in principle attach to every proposal. Evidently the Commission finds all of this work too much, because in new guidelines the SME test no longer forms an obligatory part of the impact assessment. Chances are then that the interests of small firms will be overshadowed, but we are not simply going to let this happen. In a motion which will be voted on this week in Strasbourg, we attempt to make it the Commission’s duty to perform an SME impact assessment on all new proposals. The SP stands up for the interests of the smaller business.

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20 November 2014

Harry van Bommel: Does Foreign Minister Koenders really want to get rid of nuclear weapons?

Do you really want to get rid of nuclear weapons? I put this question this week to the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders. I remember very well the backbench Member of Parliament Bert Koenders who advocated the removal of nuclear weapons from the whole of Europe and a change to NATO’s nuclear strategy. As an MP Koenders wanted to ensure that NATO would never be the first party to a conflict to use nuclear weapons, by means of what is known as a 'no first use declaration’. Now he himself sits at the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he can make the difference.

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18 November 2014

Kox: ‘European diplomacy is not about making friends but reducing animosity’

'The Council of Europe must make better use of the possibilities that it has to act against the current crisis in Ukraine and the threat of a new Cold War. Too much is now being left to the European Union and the United States, who are clearly not in a position to bring about reconciliation. A treaty organisation of which every European country is a member has the right to call those members to account over their obligations under the treaty in order to preserve peace and protect wellbeing.’ So said SP Senator Tiny Kox following discussions in Brussels.

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14 November 2014

SP Senator Kox: Isolating Russia would be dangerous

The Council of Europe is continuing to seek a means of restoring cooperation with the State Duma - the Russian Parliament - within Europe’s biggest and oldest treaty organisation, according to SP Senator Tiny Kox. Kox’s statement followed discussions this week in Moscow with the leadership of the State Duma and the Russian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

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