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4 March 2019

Drop the VAT increase in favour of a tax on millionaires

From 1st January, VAT on groceries has been raised from 6% to 9%. For people on low and average incomes, as well as for small shops, this has hit hard. At the same time, people's energy bills, health insurance premiums, rent and child care costs are all on the rise. This has to change. SP leader Lilian Marijnissen has a proposal that would help put this right. She wants to see a tax on millionaires, which would enable the VAT increase to be reversed. Support for her proposal turns out to be widespread. 

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1 March 2019

Five proposals to counter discrimination on the labour market

Labour market discrimination is a stubborn problem. Last year research conducted by the Dutch TV programme Radar showed that half of the employment agencies in the Netherlands were prepared, if asked, to discriminate on the basis of national origin or ethnicity. If the firm making the request stated that they wanted “no Turks or Moroccans” - two of the major ethnic minorities in the Netherlands - their wishes were complied with without further ado. A scandalous practice which the SP wants to see put to an end, this being March 1st, the United Nations Zero Discrimination Day. Zero Discrimination Day has been introduced by the UN to draw attention to and counter discrimination on a global level on the basis of origin, religion, gender etc.

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1 March 2019

Banks shouldn't be allowed to charge more for withdrawals by visitors from abroad

If you withdraw euros in another member state, banks should not be permitted to impose additional charges, according to the European Commission. The Commission was answering questions put by SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong and Dutch Christian Democrat Esther de Lange (CDA).

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22 February 2019

The Left shouldn't hold back, but speak out against oppression

Writing in the Nederlands Dagblad news paper of 19th February, protestant pastor Jan Jaap van Peperstraten said that alarm bells will ring when I say that I want to liberate Christians and Muslims from their faith. Van Peperstraten's interpretation is fairly simplistic, but, to be honest, that probably goes also for my own text. Our opinions, moreover, are not so far apart.

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21 February 2019

A secure place for our savings

It was precisely ten years last September that the American bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. The fall of this major bank heralded a world-wide economic crisis, the biggest since the 1930s. Lehman Brothers and many other banks had gambled with our money and lost. When as a result they fell into difficulties, they had to be rescued with billions in taxpayers' money. There was simply no alternative. To prevent this happening in the future, we need to establish a public bank where our savings and financial transactions would be 100% secure.

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21 February 2019

The last word

On 23rd February, the SP party council elected the new lead candidate for the list which the party will put forward at the European elections in May. Although the European Parliament will continue in its present composition until 2nd July when the newly elected MEPs are installed, this seems to me a good moment to bring these monthly Tribune columns to a close. From now on the campaign must be to the fore.

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20 February 2019

SP success: European Fire and Emergency Service voted down

The SP has thrown a spanner in the works of plans to establish a European Fire and Emergency Service. A motion from SP Member of Parliament Michiel Van Nispen instructing the Dutch Minister of Justice and Security not to vote in favour of the establishment of such a service has been adopted by majority vote. Rejection was necessary in order to put a halt to EU interference in national affairs. Following the drawing of the Netherlands into participation in a European Public Prosecutors Office, the EU now wants to set up what it calls 'RescEU', to deal with major fires and other catastrophic events throughout the member states and, if necessary, beyond. Commenting on the proposal, Van Nispen said, “This prestige project would cost more than €200 million of taxpayers' money, money that would be used to pay for fire engines, hoses, rescue teams, field hospitals and emergency medical units, all of which would then be stationed somewhere in Europe. Yet the utility of and need for this has not been demonstrated at all.”

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18 February 2019

Dialogue with Venezuela better than intervention

The Netherlands must have nothing to do with regime change in Venezuela, argues Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, SP senator and professor of global political economy and geopolitics at the Free University of Amsterdam.

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18 February 2019

'A coup is a coup and violence is violence'

SP Member of Parliament Sadet Karabulut argues that Het Parool's Bas Soetenhorst misrepresented her views on Venezuela in his recent column.

On Monday 4th February, Journalist Bas Soetenhorst devoted a column in this newspaper to my party's standpoint on Venezuela, a column in which he made a number of misleading statements.  

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