9 October 2015

‘The European Policy is wrong, that’s the problem’

David Hollanders interviews Dutch economist Joan Muysken.

To combat unemployment we must increase government spending and the buffers which banks are obliged to carry. Prior to this, broad public debate is needed, argues Joan Muysken. Below are the sections of the interview which deal with European issues.

DH: In your valedictory address you stated that free market thinking leads to unemployment and inequality. What did you mean by this exactly?

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6 October 2015

Merkies: measures to counter tax avoidance are totally inadequate

The plans published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to combat tax avoidance will continue to allow corporations to get away with paying low rates of taxation, says SP Member of Parliament and financial affairs spokesman Arnold Merkies, who also notes that the plans include no solution for the poorest countries, which suffer most as a result of tax avoidance by multinationals.

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5 October 2015

European Commission must make contacts with tobacco lobby public

European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly today published her recommendations regarding the European Commission’s contacts with the tobacco lobby, calling for a proactive policy under which all meetings and reports on such meetings would be placed on the Commission’s website. Commenting on the recommendations, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: 'Dutch Commissioner Frans Timmermans promised us that he would quickly make the Commission more transparent, but he has also refused up to now to make public all data regarding meetings with the tobacco industry. The Ombudsman has made mincemeat of this position, which she argues is in conflict with the rules established by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Commission, moreover, should know better. Recently Maltese Commissioner John Dalli had to step down on suspicion of corruption related to the tobacco industry. Furthermore, the Commission works closely with the tobacco industry to combat cigarette smuggling. So there’s every reason to publish all such contacts on the Commission’s website, as the Ombudsman asks them to do.’

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2 October 2015

SP Euro-MP Mineur: changes in TTIP treaty are just playing to the gallery

There is no question that the European Commission wants to retain the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system in the trade treaties with the United States (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP) and Canada (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – CETA). That was the SP’s conclusion from the leaked negotiating mandate for the treaty with Canada published today by Foodwatch, which showed that it wasn’t Canada, but the European Union which insisted on the inclusion of ISDS. European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström claims that the negotiations with Canada can’t be reopened, proving that this is entirely a question of unwillingness on the part of the EU.

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1 October 2015

Parliamentarians call on OECD to combat growing inequality

There is no doubt that growth can go hand in hand with a reduction in income differentials and the greening of the economy, a point on which SP Senator Tuur Elzinga, rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are of one and the same mind. Senator Elzinga’s almost unanimously supported resolution called on the OECD countries to strive for inclusive growth with a fairer division of income and wealth.

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30 September 2015

European Commission puts small firms at risk to favour banks

European Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for ‘Financial Stability and Financial Services’, today presented his proposal for a capital markets union. An important initial element was that banks should be once again allowed to trade packages of loans, including those extended to small and medium-sized firms. Commenting on the proposed measures, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: 'The bank lobby has again done its work well. Hill says that he wants to help improve access for small and medium-sized firms to finance, but that’s an opportunistic argument. He has evidently forgotten that it was precisely the bubble created by this sort of package, at that time principally of bad mortgage loans, that brought about the crisis. The best thing we can do with this proposal is bin it as quickly as possible.’

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30 September 2015

Democratic People’s Party welcomes international monitoring of Turkish election

Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the left-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party (HDP), is counting on the support of the international community to guarantee free and fair elections on November 1st. He is calling on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to cease interfering in the election campaign, which according to the country’s constitution the president is not supposed to do. Demirtas was a guest this week at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at the invitation of SP Senator Tiny Kox, chair of the United European Left in PACE, the political group to which Demirtas' HDP is also affiliated.

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30 September 2015

SP: Ban MEPs from moonlighting

In the wake of the Volkswagen fraud and the ensuing debate on the close links between the auto industry and the European Union institutions, it has emerged that Hans van Baalen, Member of the European Parliament for the bigger of the two Dutch governing coalition parties, the centre-right VVD, was on the Mercedes-Benz payroll. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, commenting on the revelations, said: ´Van Baalen has given up his job on the side and so at first glance he is not in formal conflict with the current rules. The code of conduct for Euro-MPs does set limits, for example when you are the EP rapporteur on a subject, but beyond that you can have as many paid jobs outside the Parliament as you like. At the moment review of these internal rules is on the EP agenda, and as chair of the European Parliament transparency network, I would say that paid moonlighting jobs should be banned as soon as possible, because an end must be put to the cosy relationship between, for example, the automobile industry and Euro-MPs.’

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27 September 2015

445,000 signatures for a referendum on EU treaty with Ukraine

Foto: SP

‘Geen Peil’, a coalition of organisations and individuals which includes the Citizens’ Committee-EU and the Forum for Democracy, has collected in excess of the 300,000 signatures required under Dutch law for a referendum on the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. It is likely that the referendum on the national law approving the treaty will be held early in the new year.

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