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28 October 2015

Ex-Commissioners’ jobs: Juncker breaks promises on preventing conflicts of interest

Lobbying watchdogs Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Lobby Control today published a report which shows that many members of the second Barroso Commission, whose term expired last year, have accepted jobs which don’t stand up to scrutiny. ‘It’s hard to understand how a former European Commissioner such as Viviane Reding can claim with a straight face that her activities at the Bertelsmann Foundation are not aimed at influencing the European institutions,’ says SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. ‘To influence policy is precisely why this foundation was established. Yet she received permission to take this post from the current Commission under Jean-Claude Juncker. No wonder that people in Europe have no confidence in these EU institutions. The influence of the corporate lobby reaches to the very highest level.’

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28 October 2015

SP Senator Kox to act as observer in tense Turkish elections

Foto: SP

SP Senator Tiny Kox is in Turkey observing the country’s general election on behalf of the Council of Europe. This week he is stationed in the region of Ankara, where numerous seats are being contested. The situation is tense in the aftermath of the death of 102 participants in a peace march. The demonstrators lost their lives as a result of a number of bomb explosions in the centre of the Turkish capital.

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23 October 2015

Refugees: organise accommodation and care, but take concerns seriously

Foto: SP

The refugee crisis is making visible the unrest just below the surface of our society. Hard work is being done by professionals and by volunteers to organise accommodation and care, but at the same time unease in society is growing.

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23 October 2015

Helpless

Europe has been frightened into wakefulness. Now that a huge influx of refugees is on its way to our part of the world, or already here, years of looking the other way, of denial, have given way to a panicked and manic urge to find solutions that are no solutions at all. So what should be done? The SP’s monthly magazine De Tribune sounded out people in The Hague and Damascus, in Berlin and Brussels and on Samos.

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21 October 2015

Emile Roemer: To look for a solution is our duty as human beings

People are worried. Worried about the growing violence in the world and worried about the millions of people who have had to leave everything behind because of it. In our country, hard work is being done to organise a decent reception for those who have arrived here. From many people I hear expressions of sympathy for people who have fled before war and violence. At the same time I see the unrest which is coming to the surface of our society.

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21 October 2015

Shady tax deals must end

An end must be put to the shady tax deals made between the revenue service and multinational corporations, says SP Member of Parliament and finance spokesman Arnold Merkies. 'Clearly the deal between Starbucks and the revenue service is not as clean as Secretary of State Wiebes has always led us to believe,’ says Merkies. ‘It looks very much as if the Netherlands has closed its eyes to tax avoidance by this huge international company. I’d like to see a line drawn here and all tax agreements that multinationals make with the treasury made public.’

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18 October 2015

Christian Democrats Old Pals’ Act in the eurozone

This week it was announced that, despite having violated all of the agreements on the budget, Spain would receive no punishment. German Christian Democrat Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was amongst those urging that Spain be given more time. Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, also a Christian Democrat, did everything to prevent a punishment being imposed on Spain. How differently these politicians comported themselves in relation to Greece, which was forced to destroy itself with still more budget cuts in order to reach the targets set. But of course Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras isn’t a Christian Democrat, but rather represents the left slice of the electorate. In my view this is a shameful example of the Old Pals’ Act at work.

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14 October 2015

Big Polluters’ lobby threatens climate conference

Foto: SP

The mass lobby from a number of huge polluters is threatening to undermine the success of the climate conference, known as COP21, to be held in Paris at the end of November. In the latest version of the draft agreement, shipping and air transport do not appear, despite the fact that these sectors together account for no less than 8% of CO2 emissions, a proportion which is moreover growing rather than dwindling. In addition, the proposal to phase out subsidies on fossil fuels has disappeared from the draft text. The SP is calling for maximum openness over the lobby’s role.

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14 October 2015

SP says no to Association Agreement with Ukraine

The referendum on the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine is to go ahead. On Wednesday the Electoral Council announced that, on the basis of a random check, it had been shown that the national Citizens’ Initiative, now institutionalised in Dutch law, had achieved the necessary minimum of 300.000 valid signatures. SP Member of Parliament and spokesman on the EU Harry van Bommel says that the referendum is ‘a splendid chance for citizens to express their views on the future of the EU’.

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