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10 May 2017

ECJ backs Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP

The European Commission should not have refused to accept the Citizens’ Initiative against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which on its final presentation had been signed by 3,284,289 people. This is the judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The SP welcomes the ruling, which points the way to an important role for Citizens’ Initiatives in strengthening democracy in the European Union.

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9 May 2017

A bit of respect for the British, if you please

Whether the British took the right decision when they opted to leave the European Union is primarily a question for the British themselves. In the European Parliament, however, some MEPs see the matter rather differently. They’re still in shock because for the very first time a member state wants to say goodbye. So they believe that Brexit must become a cautionary tale, with the British experiencing so much misery that in the future no-one will any longer dream of threatening to leave the EU.

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3 May 2017

Broad support needed in the fight against the European Commission’s plans for road transport

For years SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong has been doing his best to ward off European Commission plans to liberalise domestic road transport. Confronted with drivers’ tales of exploitation and oppression, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc seemed persuaded, and the impression was created that measures would be taken. Yet now Europe’s transport unions are hearing that in reality Bulc is determined to go ahead with liberalisation. This would leave Dutch drivers, amongst others, out in the cold.

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30 April 2017

Kox: 'a stormy week in Strasbourg'

Foto: SP

'A week full of stormy debates and unpleasant events,' was how SP Senator Tiny Kox described the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) which has just ended in Strasbourg. Kox, who is president of the United European Left group in the Assembly, was actively involved in a number of the week's dramatic events.

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27 April 2017

Euro-MPs reject monitoring of office expenses

Today the European Parliament voted to support SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong's report on the EP's expenditure accounts for 2015. ´On a number of points we were able to reach agreement on improving efficiency, working in a more results-targeted way, and more transparency. When it came to tax free reimbursements that MEPs receive in relation to just about anything, however, they continue to refuse to agree to accountability. Evidently that's too close to home.'

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27 April 2017

Missed opportunity for trade union rights in Sri Lanka

Foto: SP

The SP has expressed its disappointment at the European Parliament's refusal to increase pressure on the Sri Lankan government in response to the trade advantages on offer to the island nation. During her working visit to Sri Lanka earlier this month, SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Miner received strong promises that there would be improvements to the human rights situation, and in particular trade union rights. Mineur will be urging European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to ensure that these commitments are carried out.

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26 April 2017

Forget the European Social Pillar, just put an end to social dumping

Foto: SP

Today’s presentation of the Commission’s plans for a Social Pillar coincided with a demonstration by European transport unions against social dumping in the road haulage sector. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong was one of the speakers at the demo. “What good are vague words about social rights to a truck driver, if exploitation and oppression are simply going to continue in road transport?” he asked. “Let the Commission prioritise measures to end practices which mean that drivers are subject to increasing exploitation.”

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25 April 2017

Kox: 'increased surveillance of Turkey is a wise decision'

The Council of Europe is to step up surveillance of Turkey in order to keep better track of how human rights are being restricted or removed and of where President Erdogan’s decisions  and those of his government are in conflict with the country’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) or fail to respect the norms of a democratic and constitutional state. A resolution to begin this official monitoring procedure was carried by a large majority in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The Council of Europe is  Europe’s biggest treaty-based organisation with forty-seven member states, amongst which is Turkey.  

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25 April 2017

SP Euro-MP De Jong ensures SME test on proposals against geoblocking

´Geoblocking´ is the practice whereby internet-based retail outlets exclude purchasers from outside their own EU member state. The European Commission wants to put an end to this and is proposing a legal ban. Today the European Parliament reached agreement on its negotiating position, as the measure will be settled by what’s known as the co-decision procedure, under which the Council, which directly represents the member state governments, and the EP must agree on the final text. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong is no defender of geo-blocking, but he fears that the proposed legal requirements could make life difficult for smaller shops. “Organisations representing small and medium-sized enterprises – SMEs in the jargon – are complaining that the rules are so complicated that in setting up a website you hardly know where you stand. This is especially true for shops serving a local market, such as a neighbourhood baker’s, which might run a website to inform local customers. All of a sudden such small traders could come in for unpleasant surprises and find themselves forced to offer their wares to people in other member states.” De Jong, however, has a solution. “Today we also reached agreement in principle on a supplementary ‘SME test’” – in other words, an assessment of the likely effects of the measure on smaller firms – “which will be negotiated in parallel with the negotiations on the measure as a whole.”

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