The Greek parliamentary elections of 20th September brought an unexpectedly large victory for Syriza and its leader Alexis Tsipras. Whether this will be of any help to the ordinary Greek is the question, however. Much depends on the attitude of the troika of European Commission, ECB and IMF.
On the SP’s initiative the Turkish ambassador has been summoned by the government to explain why a letter has been sent to thousands of Dutch residents of Turkish origin in which a number of promises were made, including the provision of more Turkish-language education in the Netherlands.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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