25 October 2018

Growing conflict over MEPs' expenses

On 24th October a clear majority in the European Parliament voted to back proposals from SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong which aim to put an end to the secrecy surrounding the general expenses reimbursement for MEPs. Welcoming the vote, De Jong said: “It's idiotic that while most Members are in agreement with the need for improved transparency and accountability in relation to the payment of the €4,400 which they receive each month for office expenses, the EP Bureau, which has responsibility for this, is refusing to implement their decision. So I'm pleased that the Bureau, under the leadership of the Parliament's president, will be called out on this, now that my resolution has been carried. Hopefully this means that the matter can be resolved by the time of the European elections.”

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22 October 2018

Israeli bulldozers and Dutch red lines

Israeli bulldozers are attempting to reach the Palestinian village of Khan-al-Ahmar in occupied Palestine in order to demolish the houses and deport the inhabitants, a war crime under international law. It is thanks to stern resistance from the villagers as well as international pressure and solidarity that the village hasn't already been demolished. Demonstrators have been injured, too, this week, and people arrested, one of whom was a Dutch citizen.

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17 October 2018

Who runs our country?

After a year of debate and resistance from across society, the decision has finally been taken: there will be no abolition of the tax on dividends. The billions which this abolition would have cost the state, however, have now been been repackaged in festive paper and given, for the most part, to the multinationals. SP leader Lilian Marijnissen, responding to this news, said: “This was a chance for the Prime Minister to restore his credibility by making it clear that he understands that this money must not go to provide another gift to big capital, but should instead be invested in our society. Unfortunately, however, he has not chosen to take this course. This gift token worth billions of euros must and shall be handed to big business. Doesn't he understand that all those Dutch citizens who were simply happy that the abolition of the tax on dividends had finally been abandoned now feel that they've been taken for a ride?”

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17 October 2018

EU undermines its own position on 'fair' trade

The European Union's Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers has voted to approve the signing later in the week of two separate treaties between the EU and Singapore, one covering trade and the other investment. This is despite the fact that the treaties directly contradict the Commission's lofty promises on fair and sustainable trade, as SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur explains: “Singapore has failed to ratify important international treaties regarding workers' rights, such as those relating to trade unionism. Despite this, the trade treaty will be signed this week. Obviously we can't attach much credibility to the EU's statements when they say they value trade treaties which benefit working people.”

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15 October 2018

We must rid the world of nuclear weapons, beginning with the Netherlands

Foreign Minister Stef Blok must abandon his short-sighted policies, says Sadet Karabulut

Despite the fact that growing tensions in the world give every cause for nuclear disarmament, Foreign Minister Stef Blok has embraced NATO's nuclear arms doctrine as part of the Netherlands' security policy. Nuclear weapons are accepted as deterrent, and we will disarm only if and when others do so. Until then we will adopt the American nuclear plans, under which President Trump will invest a trillion dollars over the next few years in the modernisation of his country's nuclear arsenal. In the first major debate with Blok on the issue, he stated that he had no desire to distance himself from this position.

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10 October 2018

Call for a workers' 'Golden Share' heard all the way to Brussels

Foto: Femke Reudler Talsma

The SP wants workers to have a greater say in important decisions taken by the enterprise for which they work via recognition of a 'golden share'. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is also working on this issue, and SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong has signed ETUC's European Appeal and, at the demonstration in Brussels on 10th October, called on fellow MEPs to do the same. Without workers there would be no firms, so they should have a decisive vote in their direction and management, especially when it comes to mergers, branch closures, or divestment.

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8 October 2018

European Parliament supports UN Treaty to force corporations to respect human rights

The European Parliament has expressed its explicit support for a UN treaty that will make it compulsory for companies to respect human rights and give victims the right to go to law. In doing so the Parliament is looking to put pressure on both the European  Union and the representatives of the member states during the next round of talks in Geneva, which begin on 15th October.

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6 October 2018

A just migration policy: Five questions for Jasper van Dijk

Promoting human dignity, equality and solidarity is our most fundamental principle. These values are poorly represented when you look at how refugees and other migrants are faring throughout the world. People traffickers earn huge amounts in organising life-threatening crossings to Europe, with thousands drowned as a result. People who lack the funds to pay a trafficker or who are not in a state of sufficient health to cross the sea in a small boat can't even take this risk. SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk advocates a truly just migration policy.

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5 October 2018

EU spending shows fewer errors, but questions remain

On 4th October the European Court of Auditors published its official annual report on EU expenditure. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong's reaction to this is relatively positive, but he continues to have criticisms, as he explains. “It's certainly good news that the proportion of spending errors has fallen from 3.1% to 2,4%, though just as was the case last year you probably need to add some 2% which the Court of Auditors has left out of the reckoning. Nevertheless, the trend is good. You might well ask yourself how well the paperwork reflects the reality of all the practical examples of fraud and corruption, and of the waste which regularly emerges via the media. And finally, as the report shows, we would be better off putting an end to the so-called Juncker investment fund, which, as it turns out, clearly doesn't work.”

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