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30 Apr 2015

European alcohol strategy is incomprehensible decision by European Parliament

The European Parliament this week voted by a large majority to approve a new strategy on alcohol. A proposal originally intended to improve information to consumers regarding the food value of alcoholic drinks has become a far-reaching health policy aimed at alcohol abuse. This is the umpteenth attempt by the European Union to grab more powers.

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29 Apr 2015

Rana Plaza victims must now be compensated at last

Foto: rijans

Two years on from the disaster at the textile factory in Rana Plaza, not all of the victims have been compensated for the suffering they have undergone. The measures which have been announced have not been fully implemented, and the SP wants to see the ‘naming and shaming’ of the guilty textile manufacturers, as well as the application and monitoring of the 2013 agreement on fire prevention and the safety of buildings.

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28 Apr 2015

SP Senator Kox in Moscow: Stop sanctions and talk!

Foto: SP

After a year of pointless sanctions, Russia and the rest of Europe’s countries need to return to the negotiating table. This is the only way in which the tensions afflicting the continent can be eased and the chance of a greater crisis countered. So said SP Senator Tiny Kox this week in Moscow, during a visit in his role as chair of the United Left in the Council of Europe. Kox was in Russia’s capital for an international conference hosted by the social democratic party Just Russia.

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24 Apr 2015

Bed and Board

The coalition of the right-wing liberals of the VVD and the centre-left PvdA (Labour Party) is to put pressure on local authorities to put an end to their provision of reception and accommodation facilities for asylum seekers whose applications have been refused. In the country’s five biggest cities new centres will replace them, with the sole aim of as quickly as possible getting the failed asylum seekers either on to a plane or on to the streets.

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24 Apr 2015

The Netherlands could help put EU finance on a sounder footing

When the Netherlands takes its turn as president of the European Union in 2016, it should use the opportunity to put an end to the EU’s wasting of money and to the unnecessary pumping of funds from the member states to Brussels and back again.

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23 Apr 2015

Mass grave in the Mediterranean

A massive human tragedy is playing itself out on the Mediterranean Sea, a tragedy which has already been going on for years and which is growing ever worse. The total number of refugees who have drowned runs now to many thousands, all of them of Middle Eastern, North African or sub-Saharan African origin.

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21 Apr 2015

European action plan for boat refugees unsatisfactory

On 20th April the European Union’s Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs together with its Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers agreed a ten-point to address the crisis surrounding refugees who attempt to cross from Africa into Europe by boat. But SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen, the party’s spokeswoman on justice, is critical of the plan. ‘The ministers are giving more money to fund operations in the Mediterranean Sea, but just what form these operations will take is unclear,’ she says. ‘I want the first priority now to be the establishment of a reliable system for saving people’s lives.’ SP colleague Euro-MP Dennis de Jong adds that what’s needed are ‘structural solutions: reception and accommodation in the region must be strengthened, but at the same time the EU member states must fulfil their obligations under the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Refugees have a right to protection.’

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20 Apr 2015

The Billion Euro Man

Foto: Nick.mon

In order to fight the ongoing crisis the European Central Bank is pumping the unimaginable sum of €1.1 billion into the eurozone. Where is this money to come from and precisely where will it go? And, above all, who decides these things? At the same time, social resistance to the institution is growing.

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15 Apr 2015

Influence of lobbyists in Europe is undermining democracy

Corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) today published its report on the influence of lobbyists in Europe. The situation it describes is alarming: neither the European Union’s institutions nor the majority of member states has effective legislation to counter the undue influence of lobbyists. Commenting on the report, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong says ‘TI have shown that a lot of lobbying practices take place in dark corners, that there is a constant risk of conflicts of interest among politicians and officials both in Brussels and the member states, most of them emanating from representatives of major corporations. This is undermining democracy. That’s why in Brussels we need to immediately set up a compulsory lobby register and use a “footprint” to make it clear which lobbyists have influenced the European Commission’s legislative proposals and legislative reports from the European Parliament.’

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