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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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6 March 2018

SP joined by Labour, Green Left and 50PLUS in call for equal pay for equal work

The SP, the two centre-left parties Green Left and PvdA (Labour) and the seniors' party 50PLUS are calling for an end to inequality between men's and women's pay. The four parties have joined hands to present a legislative proposal to the effect that organisations with more than fifty employees will be required to demonstrate that they pay men and women equal rates for equal work. To that effect a certification system will be introduced, and it will be obligatory to present every three years statistics regarding salaries paid to employees. In the event of unequal pay, the employer will be given the chance to improve the situation. If nothing is done, fines will be imposed.

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6 March 2018

Parliament supports SP: Failing Brussels Fake News Bureau Must Close

A majority in Parliament's main legislative chamber today supported a proposal from SP Member Peter Kwint and MPs of the centre-right governing party the VVD. The government will now be obliged to put pressure on the EU authorities to close the controversial fake news bureau, 'EU vs Disinfo'. The bureau's ostensible function is to combat fake news, but it has itself issued false report after demonstrably false report. “The government didn't want this, but Parliament was insistent,” said Kwint. “We don't want Brussels bureaucrats distributing seals of approval for so-called 'good' journalism and scolding 'bad' journalists. No government should be starting down that road.”

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5 March 2018

Brussels should leave our free press alone

Monday, Dutch public news channel NOS broadcast a special programme on fake news. They had good reason to. We are confronted by fake news more than ever before. Any nutcase with an internet connection can throw out into the world the greatest nonsense possible. And if foreign powers want to interfere with our elections, the security services have to be on the ball. In addition, a permanent commitment to critical learning about how to deal with sources and with information is needed.

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1 March 2018

EU has still learnt nothing from opposition to TTIP

We were after all clear enough about this: treaties such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the TTIP, are not wanted. Nobody's got anything against trade which is fair, but what we don't want are the sort of measures from the European Commission which mean that it's party time for multinationals. This was shown by the number of signatures on petitions, the number of letters I received from people in all walks of life, the huge numbers of demonstrators who got out on the streets, and the incomparable number of people who took the trouble to participate in the debate. Yet in the new mega-treaties that are on their way – with Mexico (population 124 million), Japan (126 million) and the Mercosur countries of South America (126 million) - there is nothing to suggest that the Commission has listened to what the people want for as much as a second.

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