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13 October 2015

‘Don’t reduce people to just refugees’

Foto: Martin van Welzen

If you’ve seen the appalling pictures of refugees despairingly trying to get into Europe, you’ll be aware that we have to do something to accommodate them. At the same time the question arises as to whether Europe can cope with this influx and whether the arrival of migrants from other parts of the world – in particular from Islamic countries – will lead to cultural tensions. Professor Leo Lucassen, director of research at the Institute for Social History (IISG) says that ‘fortress Europe means that people are taking enormous risks.’ He was interviewed by Tijmen Lucie for the SP monthly magazine Spanning.

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10 October 2015

Thousands demonstrate against TTIP

Foto: SP

On Saturday thousands of people joined the demonstration against the notorious treaty between the European Union and the United States, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk was one of them, and he addressed the activists on just what was wrong with the TTIP. This is what he told them:

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9 October 2015

‘The European Policy is wrong, that’s the problem’

David Hollanders interviews Dutch economist Joan Muysken.

To combat unemployment we must increase government spending and the buffers which banks are obliged to carry. Prior to this, broad public debate is needed, argues Joan Muysken. Below are the sections of the interview which deal with European issues.

DH: In your valedictory address you stated that free market thinking leads to unemployment and inequality. What did you mean by this exactly?

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6 October 2015

Merkies: measures to counter tax avoidance are totally inadequate

The plans published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to combat tax avoidance will continue to allow corporations to get away with paying low rates of taxation, says SP Member of Parliament and financial affairs spokesman Arnold Merkies, who also notes that the plans include no solution for the poorest countries, which suffer most as a result of tax avoidance by multinationals.

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5 October 2015

European Commission must make contacts with tobacco lobby public

European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly today published her recommendations regarding the European Commission’s contacts with the tobacco lobby, calling for a proactive policy under which all meetings and reports on such meetings would be placed on the Commission’s website. Commenting on the recommendations, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: 'Dutch Commissioner Frans Timmermans promised us that he would quickly make the Commission more transparent, but he has also refused up to now to make public all data regarding meetings with the tobacco industry. The Ombudsman has made mincemeat of this position, which she argues is in conflict with the rules established by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Commission, moreover, should know better. Recently Maltese Commissioner John Dalli had to step down on suspicion of corruption related to the tobacco industry. Furthermore, the Commission works closely with the tobacco industry to combat cigarette smuggling. So there’s every reason to publish all such contacts on the Commission’s website, as the Ombudsman asks them to do.’

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2 October 2015

SP Euro-MP Mineur: changes in TTIP treaty are just playing to the gallery

There is no question that the European Commission wants to retain the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system in the trade treaties with the United States (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP) and Canada (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – CETA). That was the SP’s conclusion from the leaked negotiating mandate for the treaty with Canada published today by Foodwatch, which showed that it wasn’t Canada, but the European Union which insisted on the inclusion of ISDS. European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström claims that the negotiations with Canada can’t be reopened, proving that this is entirely a question of unwillingness on the part of the EU.

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1 October 2015

Parliamentarians call on OECD to combat growing inequality

There is no doubt that growth can go hand in hand with a reduction in income differentials and the greening of the economy, a point on which SP Senator Tuur Elzinga, rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are of one and the same mind. Senator Elzinga’s almost unanimously supported resolution called on the OECD countries to strive for inclusive growth with a fairer division of income and wealth.

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30 September 2015

European Commission puts small firms at risk to favour banks

European Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for ‘Financial Stability and Financial Services’, today presented his proposal for a capital markets union. An important initial element was that banks should be once again allowed to trade packages of loans, including those extended to small and medium-sized firms. Commenting on the proposed measures, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: 'The bank lobby has again done its work well. Hill says that he wants to help improve access for small and medium-sized firms to finance, but that’s an opportunistic argument. He has evidently forgotten that it was precisely the bubble created by this sort of package, at that time principally of bad mortgage loans, that brought about the crisis. The best thing we can do with this proposal is bin it as quickly as possible.’

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30 September 2015

Democratic People’s Party welcomes international monitoring of Turkish election

Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the left-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party (HDP), is counting on the support of the international community to guarantee free and fair elections on November 1st. He is calling on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to cease interfering in the election campaign, which according to the country’s constitution the president is not supposed to do. Demirtas was a guest this week at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at the invitation of SP Senator Tiny Kox, chair of the United European Left in PACE, the political group to which Demirtas' HDP is also affiliated.

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