14 April 2018

The attack on Syria

Last night the US, UK and France launched a series of air raids on military targets controlled by the Assad regime in Syria. According to the three countries' own statements, this was in response to a gas attack by the Syrian army earlier this month. The Netherlands has expressed support ('understanding' in the jargon) for this military action by the western powers. This is completely misguided, because the American-led attack is, just as was the gas attack, a breach of international law.

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12 April 2018

India Trade Treaty: Mineur urges access to affordable medicines

Developing countries may become the victims of pharmaceutical companies which are selling their products at unaffordably high prices, because the European Commission is failing to make good on its own promises. SP Euro-MP and trade specialist  Anne-Marie Mineur has sent an urgent letter, signed by MEPs from her own United European Left group and the centre-left Socialists and Democrats,  to Commissioner for International Trade Cecilia Malmström, calling on the Commission not to undermine world-wide access to medicines. The immediate cause of the MEPs’ action is the negotiations on the free trade treaty between the EU and India, which resume today.

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7 April 2018

SP Motion wins backing from Minister in debate on EU public prosecutor

Tuesday saw a debate in the national Senate on Dutch participation in the European public prosecutor’s office (EPPO), an institution that the EU is establishing with the aim of combating international fraud. The SP is, just as is the case for a narrow majority in both houses of the Dutch Parliament, against the country’s participation. A ‘yellow card’ has now been shown, indicating that national parliaments are of the opinion that this is a matter which must be taken out of the hands of the European Commission and considered directly by the member states.

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6 April 2018

Government ignores clear ‘No’ from the people

The government is refusing to make serious adjustments to the ‘Sleepwet’, the proposed law extending the powers of the security services, despite the clear no in the referendum on the issue. The SP agrees that our secret services must be able to pursue concrete suspicions of terrorist activities, but not with the collection of random data from innocent people. Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongren has renewed her promise that the security and intelligence services would apply the law with caution, but has refused to remove their right to collect random data in the ‘sleepnet’. This undermines any faith in government promises and completely ignores the voters’ ‘no’.

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30 March 2018

'Sleepwet' referendum demonstrates why Parliament isn't doing its job

In the Sleepwet campaign the politicians in The Hague failed to show their best side. Gert-Jan Segers of the centre-right Christian Union said that those who opposed the Sleepwet (which the Dutch electorate voted against in the referendum) would have some explaining to do should our country be subject to an attack. The same party's leader Sybrand van Haersma Buma said prior to the referendum that the CDA would take no notice of the result. Premier Mark Rutte, of the VVD, also a centre-right party, went so far as to compare the referendum to an old-fashioned hobby such as tatting. Kees Verhoeven of the centrist D66, a party which once made the demand for referenda central to its politics, showed himself to be an exceptionally bad loser when he tweeted after the vote that the majority for 'no' wasn't really a majority at all.

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21 March 2018

Rejection of E-Card hard blow for market fundamentalists

The European Parliament Internal Market Committee today rejected by an overwhelming majority European Commission proposals for the introduction of the E-Card, aka the Electronic Services Card. Commenting on the outcome of the vote, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said, 'This is the first time that the European Parliament has given greater importance to social rights than to unbridled movement of services across borders. I hope that this represents an historic about-face and that we can build on it a European Union in which it's not the interests of multinationals and their market fundamentalism which take cetre stage but the rights of ordinary people.”

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16 March 2018

Say no to the sleepwet

This Wednesday, 21st March sees local elections in the Netherlands. On the same day, a referendum will be held on the so-called 'sleepwet'. To English speakers pronounced 'slapewet', the sleepwet has nothing to with sleep, but derives from the Dutch verb meaning to drag or haul. Its full title is 'the law on the intelligence and security services 2017 (Wiv)', which gives an idea of what will be being hauled in. The SP is conducting a campaign against the sleepwet. When we said 'listen to the people', we didn't mean eavesdrop on us

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12 March 2018

Real enquiry into shady appointment of Selmayr begins now

The debate on the dubious appointment of Martin Selmayr as Secretary General of the European Commission left SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong feeling reasonably satisfied. “The European Parliament voted virtually unanimously for the proposal which I presented along with the Greens to the effect that the Budgetary Control Committee of the EP should carry out a detailed assessment of the appointment procedure. The information presented by the Commission itself via Commissioner Gunther Oettinger fell well short of what was needed. Not a single question was answered. But as a result of massive pressure from the EP he was forced to promise full cooperation with the enquiry. I'm already sharpening the knives, because as the spokesman on budgetary control for the United European Left group, I'll be taking an active part in the enquiry.”

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6 March 2018

ECJ ruling beginning of the end for ISDS

“This is the beginning of the end for ISDS”, says SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur in response to the claim from Dutch company Achmea against the Slovakian government, a claim thrown out today by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The judgment calls into question some 200 arbitration sections in around the same number of investment treaties between EU member states, but also offers encouragement in the fight waged for several years against the inclusion of such sections in the trade and investment treaties which the EU is currently seeking to conclude with countries and blocs outside the Union.

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