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23 April 2016

Kox: Tensions between Russia and Europe must be reduced

Foto: SP

It is unintelligent and dangerous to continue to exclude Russia from international political fora, as has been the case in recent years. Russia is not only the country with the world’s biggest landmass, but also the most important neighbour of many of the rest of the world’s biggest hitters, bordering as it does on Europe, China, Japan and the United States and lying close to India and the Middle East. If relations between Russia and its neighbours are good, the whole world benefits. That’s why both Russia and Europe should be making more efforts to improve their mutual relations. The world can no longer allow the present tensions to persist. So said SP Senator Tiny Kox, chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) United Left Group, during a visit to Moscow.

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22 April 2016

Council of Europe: EU-Turkey deal unsatisfactory

Foto: SP

The deal between the European Union and Turkey over the return of refugees is in conflict with human rights and international law, according to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). SP Senator Tiny Kox, president of the United Left Group in PACE, hopes that the EU will take the criticism seriously. “This week the president of the European Commission told us in Strasbourg that he sees the Council of Europe as the most important touchstone for human rights in Europe,” he says. “Well, the deal has been tested and the result is: this deal won’t do!”

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10 April 2016

Merkies: end shady fiscal constructions

Foto: Geralt

If it were up to the SP, a parliamentary inquest would begin in the short term into the firms and individuals named in the Panama Papers. The SP has joined Green Left and the PvdA (Labour Party) in bringing forward a proposal to that effect. SP Member of Parliament and financial expert Arnold Merkies explains: "Every year billions of euros are lost to tax evasion and tax avoidance through shady constructions that remain well hidden from everyone. Money that could have been spent on health care, roads or education. The Panama Papers are bringing matters to light that should have been revealed much sooner, by means of a sound tax inspectorate and effective agreements with other countries. We’re still chasing after the facts. It’s time that tax havens and shady fiscal constructions were dismantled."

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7 April 2016

Reclaim democracy: the elite don’t really know better

Foto: kruidhof

What a lot of severe criticisms were made, after all, about the referendum. What, once again, a great deal of scaremongering went on. The usual pundits, such as Trouw columnist Rob de Wijk, who saw the referendum as a danger to our democracy. But serious people too, like the vice-president of the Council of State Piet Hein Donner, who claimed that the referendum was in conflict with the autonomy of Members of Parliament. But you gave us, all the same, your advice.

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6 April 2016

Roemer: "Referendum result is a victory for Ukraine for the Netherlands and for Europe"

A large majority of the voters has said 'no' to the European Union’s Association Agreement with the Ukraine, a treaty which must be ratified by all 28 EU member states before it can come into force. Commenting on the result shortly before the final tallies were made, SP leader Emile Roemer said: "It's now clear that the Netherlands has voted en masse against this treaty. Politicians in general and the government in particular cannot ignore this result. The Netherlands' no-vote is good for Ukraine, good for the Netherlands and good for Europe."

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5 April 2016

SP leader seeks Parliamentary Enquiry into tax avoidance

Foto: SP

SP leader Emile Roemer will this week propose to Parliament that it begins to prepare a parliamentary enquiry into the role played by the Netherlands in the avoidance of taxes by billionaires. "It’s common knowledge that the Netherlands plays an important part in enabling tax constructions. The Panama Papers demonstrate how billionaires are able to avoid paying their taxes the world over as a result of this sort of construction. We must investigate this to the last details and dismantle the Netherlands tax haven and the role it plays."

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4 April 2016

Conference of the Modern Left in Iceland: Learning from each other

Foto: Rick Hovens / Þingvellir, the location where the first Icelandic parliament was founded in 930 AD

In 2007, on the initiative of the SP, representatives of modern left parties gathered at De Weverij in Oss to exchange experiences and discuss the dilemmas they each faced in an open atmosphere. In the meantime 2016 has arrived and more parties and party leaders are participating. In the years since that inaugural meeting, moreover, the Norwegians, Danes, Icelanders, Greeks and Cypriots have all gained experience of government.

Foto: SP
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30 March 2016

Whistleblowers' Centre Act now a fact

Foto: SP

On the first day of March the Dutch Senate gave its support to the Whistleblowers' Centre Act, an SP initiative. After ten years of fighting for this, whistleblowers will enjoy protection, and abuses can be investigated. SP Member of Parliament Ronald van Raak described it as an historic day. “People who report abuses need soon no longer be afraid; people who cause abuses will soon no longer get away with it.”

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29 March 2016

"Combat terror – with prevention and a tough approach"

Foto: SP

SP leader Emile Roemer spoke in today’s debate with the government of the fate of the victims of the attacks in Brussels. "Our neighbours have been hit," he said. "A blow has been struck against our friends. They are in mourning and with them, we remember." In the debate Roemer pointed once more to the still poor cooperation between security services in Europe and to the need for additional measures to prevent radicalisation in the neighbourhoods. "The threat of an attack will never be wholly removed," he noted. "But we can certainly do more. To defend our constitutional state and our democracy against those who threaten our freedom. Do more – with prevention and a hard approach."

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