14 November 2015

SP leader Roemer: ‘Appalling Paris attacks are beyond comprehension’

SP leader Emile Roemer has reacted with horror to the attacks in Paris. ‘What happened in Paris is beyond comprehension,’ he said. ‘ We mourn the victims, and grieve along with their loved ones, and with all Parisians.’

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13 November 2015

European Commission threatens to introduce TTIP without democratic approval

Foto: SP / TTIP demonstration, Strasbourg, 10th June, 2015

Without even giving the European Parliament the chance to vote on it, the European Commission can allow trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) to enter into force provisionally. The SP views this as unacceptable, and for this reason has issued an urgent appeal to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to refuse to ratify such agreements until not only the European Parliament but also the national parliaments have had the chance to study their contents.

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11 November 2015

European Parliament must keep its nose out of our electoral system

The European Parliament today adopted a number of proposals aimed at gradual harmonisation of the member states’ electoral procedures. The SP is dead against any and all such proposals, believing that European Union members must remain free to design their own systems. Commenting on these developments, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said, ‘Unfortunately a majority in the EP still don’t get the fact that people aren’t anxious to see still more meddling from Brussels. Electoral systems are pre-eminently a national responsibility. Today’s result is a powergrab by European political parties and has nothing to do with strengthening democracy.’

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10 November 2015

European Court of Auditors is right: change of direction needed when it comes to EU expenditure accounts

This year the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has once again declared itself unable to approve the accounts of expenditure from the European Union’s various funds. The grounds for the Auditors’ decision are that the proportion of errors – 4.4% - was far above the acceptable margin of 2%. The ECA is, furthermore, concerned about the member states’ capacity to make effective use of the funds. Commenting on the matter, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong says: ‘It’s crazy that new airports have been built simply to get the money spent. In only 50% of projects was an investigation carried out into whether there was any need for the facility. No wonder that only one in three of the airports built with EU money has proved profitable. In every project the need which it meets should be clearly stated, along with the added value gained from EU financing. In particular the question as to whether a project would be realised without such European support is asked far too infrequently. This is a matter of taxpayers’ money. A results-based approach could save a great deal of costs.’

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8 November 2015

Smaling: Paris Climate Conference must deliver tough approach to CO2 emissions

Foto: SP

Secretary of State Sharon Dijksma should be looking to make tough agreements on emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, says SP Member of Parliament Eric Smaling. 'Although there may always be debate about the relationship between climate change and human behaviour,’ he adds, ‘it’s crystal clear that the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased enormously over a few decades. Greenhouse gases block the reflection of sunlight, warming the earth.’ On Sunday Smaling joined climate action group Urgenda, whose director is walking to Paris from the Netherlands in stages.

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5 November 2015

Climate Commissioner Cañete seduced by the oil lobby

European Commissioner for climate policy Miguel Cañete has allowed himself to be seduced by the oil lobby, the SP says. This view was confirmed in the report “Cooking the Planet” from lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory. The report demonstrates that Commissioner Cañete, along with his colleague Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, have spoken four times as often with corporate lobbyists as they have with private citizens and social or environmentalist NGOs combined. Moreover, the leading role in this lobby has been taken by the fossil fuel industry, within which the Spanish Commissioner Cañete was formerly employed.

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5 November 2015

Merkies demands openness on ABN Dubai fraud

While the Bank of the Netherlands (DNB) and the Finance Minister speak of ‘irregularities’ and ‘incidents’ at ABN Dubai, Dubai’s own regulator, in publishing the explanation for the penalties it has imposed, presents an entirely different picture, one of systematic malpractice. DNB, in its capacity as the Dutch regulator, has also conducted its own investigation, but in contrast to the report by its counterpart in Dubai, its findings have been kept under lock and key, with DNB refusing to make any comment. SP Member of Parliament and finance spokesman Arnold Merkies wants the Dutch regulator to offer the same openness as does the Dubai authority.

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1 November 2015

As Turkey votes, democracy is under enormous pressure

Today more than 55 million Turks will have the chance to vote in the country’s general election. Expected turnout is high, probably close to 90%. That’s good news, as these elections are of unusually great importance. They do not, however, guarantee that Turkish democracy will stay on its feet. Concerns in the entire country and beyond are greater than ever before, writes SP Senator Tiny Kox, who was one of a team of election observers from the Council of Europe, a task he also performed in the previous elections in June.

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31 October 2015

Kox: Turkish governing party denies pressuring voters amongst Netherlands-based Turks

Thousands of Turkish citizens resident in the Netherlands have been sent a letter allegedly by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu calling on them to vote for the ruling AK Party. Many are asking how their names and addresses have been acquired. On a proposal from Sadet Karabulut. Parliament unanimously condemned this canvassing action. In addition, the Dutch government has described the Turkish interference as completely inappropriate. In Turkey itself the country’s government’s action has been discussed by the international observers monitoring Sunday’s elections, reports SP Senator Kox, who is there as part of the Council of Europe’s team of observers.

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