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4 September 2018

Ombudsman accuses Commission of maladministration in appointment of Secretary-General

European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has taken a close look into the appointment of Martin Selmayr and concluded that there have been four counts of maladministration. 'These judgments confirm what the European Parliament itself decided in July, that the Juncker Commission acted incorrectly in the appointment of Selmayr,' says SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. 'So it's of the greatest importance that the discussion about political appointments in the European institutions is accorded the highest priority. The most recent proposals from Commissioner Günther Oettinger are in danger of being quickly hidden away behind closed doors. We mustn't let that happen.'

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4 September 2018

SP leader Marijnissen as parliamentary year opens: 'Time for justice'

As Parliament returned from recess this week, SP leader Lilian Marijnissen marked the occasion with a speech to the think-tank The Machiavelli Foundation, based like the national legislature in The Hague. People, she said, want a coherent account of what is going on “in our country”. And quite rightly.

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3 September 2018

Perpetual Occupation and Unbounded Injustice: A week in Palestine and Israel

Foto: SP

In July SP Member of Parliament Sadet Karabulut paid a working visit to Palestine and Israel. What she witnessed there was a completely unsustainable situation in which Israel is continuing to block the Palestinians' right to self-determination. “What I heard and encountered shocked me,” she said. “But at the same time it has also given me a great deal of energy to continue what the SP has been doing for many years and tackle the core of this conflict: the perpetual occupation, the blockade of Gaza, and the extension of illegal settlements.”

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24 August 2018

Big firms gain right to look at your bank account details

If the EU gets its way, banks in the Netherlands and other member states will shortly be obliged to give multinationals access to your bank account, allowing them to see everything you've bought as well as when and where the transactions took place. Massive firms such as Google and Facebook can hardly wait. They already know what you've been looking for on line, your tastes, who your friends are and any events you've booked for. Soon they'll know also what stuff you're buying anywhere and everywhere, what shops you're buying it in and the exact time of your purchase.  So we should no longer be surprised if Facebook shows us ads for diet programmes because we've been buying more fastfood. In addition to all that, they'll soon know how high your energy bills are and when you're salary is due.

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17 August 2018

Coach drivers sound alarm: hit the brakes!

Foto: Maurits Gemmink

This summer countless holidaymakers will go by coach to their chosen resorts. But the coach drivers who take them have less attractive prospects lying in wait. Just as with freight traffic, the European Union wants to open the gates to drivers from eastern European countries while at the same time extending permitted working hours. But there remains some hope.

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10 August 2018

Ten years on from the August War, South Ossetia remains a frozen conflict

Foto: SP

Ten years ago this week Russian troops entered South Ossetia in response to Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili's decision to send his army to attack the region which, though officially still Georgian territory de jure, had seceded de facto seventeen years earlier, in 1991. The attack had been launched the day before the Russian response, which occurred on 8th August.

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9 August 2018

Hiroshima, Nagasaki – never again!

Just over 73 years ago, on 6th August 1945 – so within the memory of the very oldest people still alive - the Japanese city of Hiroshima was virtually wiped from the face of the Earth by a single nuclear bomb. In the seven decades which have passed since that historic event, the world is replete with bombs which make those dropped on Hiroshima and, three days later, on Nagasaki, look like fire-crackers. We should remember, however, that even these relatively small bombs were terrifyingly destructive weapons. Many people died instantly, but those casualty figures were doubled within a few months, so that the number of deaths from the bombings' acute effects may have been well over 200,000, with even the lowest estimates reaching two-thirds of that figure. Lingering radiation sickness would kill many more as the years went by. SP Senator Tiny Kox, who is also a member of the Dutch delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, wants to ensure that these weapons of mass destruction will never be used again. “I want to see the government sign up to the international campaign to ban nuclear arms,” he says.

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2 August 2018

Access to EU Council Documents: European Ombudsman rules in favour of SP

On Wednesday the European Ombudsman ruled in favour of SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong's request for access to the EU Council's legal advice in relation to a transparency register. Explaining his request, De Jong said: “As long as three years ago I lodged a request with the Council for access to the full advice given by the Legal Services on the question of possible participation by the Council in the transparency register. The Council has repeatedly refused to grant this, but not only did the Ombudsman rule in my favour on every point, but has also ensured that the Council has given me access to the advice, uncensored. The ruling confirms that documents in the framework of an inter-institutional agreement between Council, Commission and Parliament are comparable to legislative documents. Earlier this year the European Court of Justice ruled that important documents must be publicly available, which will at last give member states' citizens more of an insight into how decisions are taken in Brussels and means that governments can no longer hide behind a veil of secrecy.”

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1 August 2018

SP launches alternative action plan to put a stop to fires in intensive pigsties and cattle stalls

Every year hundreds of thousands of animals die in the Netherlands in the most horrible manner in fires in barns, sheds and pigsties on intensive farms. Yesterday, 2,500 pigs were burnt to death in a fire near Didam, Gelderland, in the country's east. Last year set a sad record when 20,000 pigs were killed in a fire in another Gelderland village, Erichem. The farmer had been known for several years as one who ignored the regulations. The government has now produced an action plan to stop such fires, but according to the SP it leaves far too many options, with the authorities waiting for the sector itself to solve the problems, and has shied away from taking serious measures, such as stronger norms for existing stalls and sties, while the intensive farming industry continues to cram in enormous numbers of animals, often with the most basic fire safety measures.

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