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5 February 2016

The SP and the campaign against the EU-Ukraine treaty: Not Now!

The Netherlands is preparing for a referendum to be held on 6th April. In 2005 the very first referendum took place in our country, on a proposed constitution for the European Union. The government and most political parties were in favour – but two thirds of the population voted against – to the delight of the SP, which had spoken out against the proposal in Parliament. This time too the SP is once again advising the electorate to vote against, as the party itself has already done in both houses of the national parliament in The Hague.

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3 February 2016

'EU negotiations with UK offer chance for an alternative Europe’

Foto: SP

On Tuesday European Council president Donald Tusk and British prime minister David Cameron presented their common proposals for reform of the EU. If the European Council agrees, this is the package which Cameron will put before the people of the United Kingdom in a referendum on European Union membership. Following the recent referendum in which the Danes voted to retain their national control in the area of justice, and the coming Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, scheduled for 6th April in the Netherlands, the chances are great that the British will hold their own referendum on ‘Brexit’ in the week of 23rd June. The SP sees the negotiations between Brussels and London as a step in the right direction, yet much remains to be done.

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3 February 2016

European Parliament puts public services in the sales

Foto: SP

The SP is concerned and outraged by the fact that the European Parliament has given the European Commission the green light to proceed with negotiations on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). This treaty will mean the opening of the market in services to companies from fifty countries across the world, including the United States, Taiwan and Pakistan.

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1 February 2016

China is no market economy

China is no market economy, and should not be accorded the status of one. That’s the SP’s standpoint in relation to an issue debated today by the European Parliament. China is far from fulfilling the criteria laid down by the European Union, and if classed as a market economy would gain disproportionately great competitive advantages.

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1 February 2016

Emile Roemer and Harry van Bommel: Syrians are crying out for bread, not bombs

Foto: SP

The PvdA (Labour Party), the junior partner in the Netherlands’ coalition government, is no longer an opponent of airstrikes being carried out by Dutch F-16s on ISIS targets in Syria. This is a remarkable decision, because the arguments against bombing used by this party in the recent past are still valid. The civil war in Syria has already led to the deaths of more than 260,000 people and created tens of millions refugees. From humanitarian considerations it’s clear that intervention is needed, but the lessons of previous interventions must not be forgotten. For these reasons we were pleased by the Labour Party’s refusal to give its support to airstrikes. Its leader, Diederik Samsom, was right to observe that what was needed first was a political plan for the future of Syria. There is still a need for such. Warring parties are arguing about who gets a seat at the negotiating table.

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28 January 2016

Ploumen forces CETA treaty with Canada on to agenda of EU Council of Ministers

Foto: SP

In her role as Chair of the EU Council of Trade Ministers, Dutch minister Lilianne Ploumen – a member of the Labour Party (PvdA) - has put the signing and provisional coming into force of the controversial Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA) on the agenda for the International Trade Council meeting scheduled for May 13th. This was revealed by the still unpublished agenda which the SP has managed to get hold of. In doing this, Ploumen is bypassing the European Court of Justice, which still has to give its advice on the question as to whether such treaties are an exclusive EU competence or whether the member states also have the right to take decisions independently. The SP calls on Ploumen to make signing the treaty conditional on the agreement of the member states’ national parliaments.

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28 January 2016

Kox: 'Combatting terrorism must not undermine the rule of law in Europe’

Foto: SP

The struggle against terrorism and for the protection of the constitutional state should not be at odds with each other but, on the contrary, ought to be mutually reinforcing. To fight terrorism by restricting human rights is to play into the hands of the terrorists. Member states of the Council of Europe have the right and duty to protect their citizens from terror. At the same time they must continue to guarantee the fundamental values of the European Convention on Human Rights. Only in that way can terrorism be defeated. A resolution to this effect was adopted this week with broad support by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). PACE also voted in favour of a large number of amendments from SP Senator Tiny Kox, who chairs the United Left Group in the Assembly. The amendments were designed to make the fight against terrorism in the future more efficient and more effective.

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27 January 2016

Transparency International has no confidence in Ukrainian government

In the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) published today by Transparency International (TI), Ukraine is once again to be found amongst the worst regions. Commenting on the finding, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong says: ´Ukraine can be found amongst countries like Paraguay and Nepal in 130th place out of a total of 167 countries. As if that weren’t bad enough, TI notes that the government is digging its heels in when it comes to taking the necessary measures against corruption. And with a country like that the EU should sign an Association Agreement? A no in the Ukraine referendum -and a no to companies who want to do business there and which have no hesitation in paying bribes.

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27 January 2016

Van Bommel: Turkish journalists deserve freedom

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel has reacted with shock to the tough demands for punishment lodged in Turkey against two journalists from the newspaper Cumhuriyet. Commenting on the demand, Van Bommel says: ‘The journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül have carried out brave journalistic work, but the public prosecutor in Turkey is demanding double life sentences and thirty years in prison for them. That’s unacceptable.’

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