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21 January 2016

Ukraine referendum: European Parliament not confident of a ‘yes’

Foto: SP

The European Parliament is set to vote today to approve a resolution on the Association Agreements with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldavia. The motion calls for rapid visa liberalisation and intensification of cooperation between the EU and these countries. The resolution also, however, expresses concern about ‘the context in which the Netherlands’ Ukraine referendum is taking place’ and the hope that ‘the Dutch people will judge the agreement on its advantages, including for the EU and for the Netherlands.’ Commenting on the text, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: ‘By the context the EP can only mean the unpopularity of the government of Mark Rutte. Evidently the Prime Minister’s performance this week in Strasbourg has not given the Parliament any confidence that the referendum will result in a “yes”. That’s something which should give him cause for concern.’

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21 January 2016

SP’s message to Brussels: ‘Hands off our ports!’

Foto: SP

SP Member of Parliament Farshad Bashir is furious over interference from Brussels in the taxation of Dutch port companies. The European Commission insists that the nationalised port companies of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Zeeland, Den Helder, Groningen and Moerdijk should pay corporation tax on their profits. By not doing so, the Commission argues, they represent unfair competition with ports in other countries. Bashir, SP spokesman on both taxation issues and water transport, points out that ‘this tax ruling dates back to the 1950s. Given that these are state-owned corporations, it makes sense to exempt them from taxation. If they now have to pay taxes, it will cost a lot of jobs.’

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19 January 2016

Smaller firms must look out for their own interests on the digital market

Foto: SP

The European Parliament today adopted a resolution on the digital internal market. For the SP, the most important interests in this are those of the consumer, and those of small businesses, as SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong explains: ´When it comes to the digital market there’s a danger that the European Commission will go too far. They originally wanted, for example, to make it obligatory for firms to offer their products on line to consumers in every member state, which wasn’t exactly handy for, for example, the local bakers who’ve just set up their own website. Fortunately the EP accepted my amendment to the effect that shops aiming at a local or regional market could pursue the same policy on line.’

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18 January 2016

SP leader Emile Roemer: Who owns the world?

The sixty-two richest people on earth own as much as do the poorer half of the world’s population, a total of 3.5 billion people. This is the scandal of our times. So much wealth among so few people and a growing group with virtually nothing at all. This disrupts society.

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11 January 2016

Harry van Bommel: Stop selling arms to Riyadh

An arms embargo on Saudi Arabia is needed in the fight against terror, argue Members of Parliament Harry van Bommel of the SP and Sjoerd Sjoerdsma of D66.

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4 January 2016

TTIP – The State of Play

Whether we’re going to end up with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact – the TTIP – no-one can any longer say. Resistance is growing but the interests involved are major. The supporters no longer assume they’ve won. Under pressure from public opinion one thing and another is being changed, but the dangers still haven’t gone away.

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25 December 2015

Safe Christmas Holidays!

Foto: Peter Frischmuth/Hollandse Hoogte

On Christmas Eve a clergyman wrote in one of our national newspapers that over the period leading up to the holiday the churches had been fuller than in other years, because people had been seeking, at this time, a safe place to go. Just like in the bible story, I thought, when Mary and Joseph, having been turned away from the inn (full is full!), had to go and look for a stable; or like the refugees who have arrived at last in emergency accommodation, and even there don't always feel safe. Amongst all the violence in the world, the longing for security is indeed on the rise. That so many people in search of a feeling of security go to a place of worship demonstrates that you don't have to immediately associate security with riot cops or soldiers with drawn guns. Security has to go outwards from within, when you don't feel threatened but remain open to others, even if, amongst the billions of people on earth, there are some who undermine our safety. The Christmas message that 'love overcomes all' is more important than ever in these turbulent times.

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21 December 2015

Harry van Bommel: ‘Allies’ give support to ISIS

Foto: SP

Almost eighteen months ago, under the leadership of the United States, a military intervention against ISIS began in Iraq and Syria. Since then it has to be said that the aims of this action have not been achieved. 

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20 December 2015

Tuur Elzinga on the OECD: 'The OECD is more than a club for wealthy countries'

Neoliberal ideology is no longer holy writ at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Partly thanks to the efforts of SP Senator Tuur Elzinga, the OECD is focusing more on a broader concept of prosperity and on inclusive and sustainable growth. SP Senator Elzinga answers questions from Tijmen Lucie.

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