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14 March 2019

No Go Ahead for TTIP-Light

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur says that she is delighted by the European Parliament's refusal to give the green light for renewed trade and investment negotiations with the United States.

“The trade agreements that were on the table today had, it's true, less weight than the rejected Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the TTIP, but they are along the same lines,” says Mineur. “The Commission wants to negotiate with the US on the abolition of tariffs on virtually all industrial goods. Critical NGOs describe the proposals as 'TTIP light'. That President Trump has announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change was clearly noted.”

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13 March 2019

At last a European approach to fraudulent invoices

Foto: CC0

In 2013 the European Parliament adopted by an overwhelming majority a report by SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, in which he called for a European approach to fraudulent invoices. Today his recommendations were finally embodied in legislation. Explaining the new law, De Jong said: “In the Netherlands the Fraud Help Desk works well. It's mostly small businesses that become the victims of false invoices and similar kinds of fraud. If, however, the invoices are sent from outside the country, it's very difficult for the Fraud Help Desk. That's why the organisation for small and medium-sized enterprises, MKB-NL has long been urging the creation of a network of help desks throughout the EU. The directive voted on today will mean that such a network is at last in prospect.”

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11 March 2019

We must rid ourselves of nuclear weapons

Two developments  which have emerged during the last few days –  the prematurely ended summit between US and North Korean top men Trump and Kim, and the heightening tensions between India and Pakistan – are making it all the clearer why it is of the utmost importance that the international community, including the Netherlands, take serious steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.

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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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