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2 March 2015

Ploumen Plan doesn’t match dangers of TTIP

Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen today joined five EU member state colleagues in launching a plan for an international court to settle trade disputes. In doing so Ploumen is at last recognising the dangers presented by the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), a clause in trade agreements which allows corporations to bring legal actions against states. But in the SP’s assessment the government’s plan is insufficient to counter the damaging effects of the free trade agreements with the US and Canada, respectively the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

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28 February 2015

Labour gives way to centre-right coalition partners: JSF will be coming

The coalition government, which includes the Labour Party (PvdA), is going ahead with the purchase of eight Joint Strike Fighters. The JSF is a fighter-bomber the acquisition of which was opposed unequivocally by Labour during the last parliamentary election, yet that position has now been reversed. As SP Member of Parliament and defence spokesman SP Jasper van Dijk concluded after last week’s parliamentary debate on the matter, ‘The PvdA is even more manoeuvrable than the JSF.’

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27 February 2015

Energy policy must remain in national hands

On Tuesday the European Commission published its plan for an energy union. The Commission wants more say in energy policy, which is at present in the hands of the member states. That’s how it must stay, in the opinion of the SP. It would be positive were member states to link their grids, but each country must be able to determine for itself how they generate energy.

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26 February 2015

SP: Government must not permit human rights abuses

The Court of Justice in The Hague last week ruled that the European Patents Organisation (EPO) is in conflict with important European fundamental rights, such as the right to strike. Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten is, however, refusing to give effect to the judgment, on the grounds that the EPO – not an EU institution, but one with thirty-eight member states, including all EU countries - is an independent organisation and therefore enjoys immunity. SP Member of Parliament Michiel van Nispen finds this reasoning absurd, he says. ‘The minister is thus approving the silencing of trade unions and the fact that workers can’t in the end enforce their rights,’ he points out. ‘Independent organisations should not be hampered in their functioning, but that doesn’t mean that they have carte blanche to transgress human rights and ignore judicial rulings.’

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25 February 2015

Clear government statement needed on alleged US and UK eavesdropping on Dutch telephones

Foto: SP

SP Member of Parliament Ronald van Raak wants clarification from the government regarding British and American security services’ hacking of Dutch SIM cards, which enables them to steal the cards’ encryption codes and eavesdrop on phone calls. Now that the US and UK intelligence services have got their hands on the encryption codes of major telephone service providers KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile, they can eavesdrop on people – including Members of Parliament - without any interference from the companies involved.

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23 February 2015

Feed people, not petrol tanks

On Tuesday 24th February a vote will be taken in the European Parliament Environment Committee on the EU’s rules governing biofuels. Tighter regulation is badly needed, because biofuels are a great deal less sustainable than is commonly thought. For their production you need agricultural land, which is necessary to provide sufficient food to feed us all. This explains why the SP voted in favour of tightening the rules.

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12 February 2015

Merkies: High time for a debate on our monetary system

At the initiative of SP Member of Parliament Arnold Merkies, Parliament will shortly hold a debate on monetary policy. ‘It’s time that as politicians we don’t only look on from the sidelines, but continue to consider the fundamental questions concerning our monetary system,’ Merkies says. ‘How should we organise our monetary system? And how do we maintain control of it? All of these issues appear now to be taboo in the political arena.’
 

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12 February 2015

Harry van Bommel and Jasper van Dijk: Arms fair no place for minister as Middle Eastern arms market experiences explosive growth

Later this month Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert will travel to the United Arab Emirates (UEA) to participate, along with a number of Dutch firms, in a major arms fair. On purely economic grounds this event would be of great interest, as for export of armaments this region forms an explosive growth market. Despite this, the Minister would be better staying at home. There are already huge numbers of weapons in the Middle East and the painful reality is that these weapons are pushing the region rapidly down into the abyss.

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10 February 2015

TTIP ‘Secret Council’ neither democratic nor transparent

Foto: SP

The way in which the European Commission wants to hand the pass on legislation straight to corporate business is causing the SP great concern. New proposals regarding the free trade treaty with the United States, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), remove democratic control from the people’s representatives and draw a line through the independence and transparency of our laws and regulations.  

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