News 2018

22 February 2018

PM must set clear limits to EU actions

More EU. That's the short version of the most important and at the same time the only message which the European Commission has in store for the member states when it comes to the future of the European Union. SP Member of Parliament and spokeswoman on European affairs Renske Leijten is having none of it. “When for the first time in history a member state – the UK - is taking its leave of the EU, the European Commission is presenting one proposal after another for the EU to integrate still more quickly and still further,” she says. “So the EU budget should be increased by 10%-20%, six new member states will be admitted in 2025, changes in the euro will give member states even less control of the budget and the banks, and local authorities will soon be paralysed if they adopt policies that impinge on the interests of the internal market. The European Commission should just take a step back and take a look at what's really needed instead of always looking for European solutions. In the SP's view that means less money for the EU and more control for the member states.”

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20 February 2018

Campaign for openness in the European Union

On Monday, SP Member of Parliament Renske Leijten, together with fellow MPs Pieter Omtzigt of the centre-right CDA and Martin van Rooijen from seniors' party 50PLUS handed a letter to Eurogroup chair Mario Centeno containing a plea for more openness from the EU Council of Ministers and the Eurogroup of twenty-six parliaments from twenty member states. They want to see documents relating to decision-making in the two bodies made public and to be given access to voting figures. “The thrust of our argument is clear,” says Leijten. “The EU Council of Ministers is too much of a 'black box' for national MPs. It's never clear how negotiations are going or how the agenda has been arrived at.”

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20 February 2018

Mahir Alkaya speaks in the European Parliament on Brexit and the EU budget

On Tuesday I was in Brussels for the so-called 'European Parliamentary Week', in order to discuss, with MPs from other member states, the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, or MFF. This is the EU's multi-annual accounts book, and discussion around it has exploded in the wake of Brexit. I was permitted to close the conference with a speech. So what did I say? Well, that when a member state leaves the EU, as the British have decided to do, this doesn't mean that other countries such as the Netherlands should not be expected automatically to pick up the slack created by the loss of the UK contribution. In Brussels they want all member states to help make up the gap. But when you decide to go out with four friends for the evening and everyone contributes €20 to the kitty, the kitty simply gets smaller if someone cries off. Yet the other three don't need to increase their contribution to ensure that everyone can drink just as much as they could before.

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15 February 2018

Mark Rutte wants to know all about you, but doesn’t want to listen to your views

What will Interior Minister Kajsa have seen when she looked in the mirror this morning? A politician belonging to centrist liberals D66 who has sold her soul to have her own ministry?  Or one of Prime Minister Mark Rutte's hench(wo)men, who wants to deprive citizens of a democratic right, without people being given any chance to have a say in the decision? In 1848, the first liberal premier Johan Rudolf Thorbecke introduced direct elections, while under a later liberal premier, Pieter Cort van der Linden, in 1917, we saw the introduction of universal manhood suffrage.  Today, however, liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte wants to abolish a democratic right, by putting an end to referenda. Rutte is not prepared to defend the measure himself in Parliament; the job will be left to his right-hand woman, Kajsa Ollongren. This is a dark day for democracy, a day on which citizens will be deprived of a democratic right. And why? What have people done wrong? We said 'no', in a referendum on the European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement. Just once, we said 'no' to our own government; against the interests of the multinationals and of the Europhiles in Brussels. Just once, we said ‘no’ on behalf of our own democracy, so we must now be punished. That's why an end must apparently be put to the referendum as quickly as possible.

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8 February 2018

Left cooperation against modernisation of Netherlands-based nuclear bomb

SP Member of Parliament Sadet Karabulut, together with fellow MPs from the Green Left and the PvdA (Labour Party), has put a series of parliamentary questions to the government on American plans to modernise the B-61 nuclear bomb. The B-61 is a US nuclear weapon housed in Volkel and can be deployed using the F-16 warplane.

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7 February 2018

Brussels Bubble will carry on wasting money

Foto: Inyucho

The majority of MEPs voted today in favour of maintaining a proportion of the 73 seats freed up as a result of Brexit. Responding to the decision, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: ´It was a bizarre spectacle. The European Parliament always wants more. This was a chance to make savings, but the EP let it pass. According to the majority, 27 of the seats which will be vacated must be used for a redivision among the member states. So the Netherlands could get three more and go up to 29. That might seem attractive, but a more evenly-balanced division would be possible with fewer MEPS, too. With this decision the EP has revealed that it couldn't care less about what's going on outside its doors. Member states have been bullied for years by the European Union to cut spending, but the European Parliament just wants more and more. I can't imagine a wider gulf between the public and the EP.”

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