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8 July 2015

TTIP vote is an attack on democracy

Foto: Anne-Marie Mineur / Dark clouds over the European Parliament

The European Parliament today voted in favour of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, a system of arbitration which gives special rights to foreign investors. ISDS will form part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the trade treat between the European Union and the United States. Despite growing social disquiet and a fierce and spirited campaign by citizens of the member states and social organisations, the Parliament opted for the agenda favoured by European multinationals.

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7 July 2015

Calais: EU Transport Commissioner ‘disappointed’ at failure of Dutch government to act

Foto: SP

A delegation from Transport and Logistics Netherlands (TLN), a truck driver who regularly makes the crossing to England, and SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong met with European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc to discuss the problems in Calais. ‘The Commissioner agreed with the actions we proposed,’ said De Jong. ‘She is going to put maximum pressure on the British to amend their policy on fines and on both them and the French to rapidly improve facilities at the Eurotunnel. At the same time she expressed disappointment at the lack of action from the minister responsible, Melanie Schultz Van Haegen. The two had a meeting recently on the matter, but the promised letter from the minister has not been received by the Commissioner. This letter will have to come this week, however, so that Bulc can take things further.’

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5 July 2015

SP leader Emile Roemer: Creditors can’t ignore Greek ‘no’

Foto: SP

'The Greek people have made use of their democratic right en masse and voted ‘no’ to the troika’s harsh and counter-productive austerity policies.  The Greek economy, after five years of cuts, is in a worse state than it was. Greece needs investments in order to get the economy going again and find a social route out of the crisis.  The Greeks’  no vote is a clear signal that the European creditors can’t simply push to one side.’ So says SP leader Emile Roemer in reaction to the result of the Greek referendum, announced Sunday evening.

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5 July 2015

TTIP: Corporate power and ISDS are biggest public concerns

The question that at the beginning of June SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur put out on Twitter brought many concerned reactions. The growing power of big corporations was one which came to the fore, neck-and neck with the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, that gives corporations additional rights in relation to legal complaints against countries when a policy does not suit them. The undermining of democracy, food safety and social rights were also often mentioned. The TTIP will once again figure on the agenda in the coming week when the European Parliament votes on it.

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5 July 2015

TiSA a new threat to democracy, Wikileaks shows

Foto: Wikileaks

The SP is shocked at the contents of the freshly-leaked documents on the Trade in Services Agreement, the international treaty which the EU has been negotiating for the past two years. The treat represents a threat to European standards, but also to workers’ rights and to privacy. The SP is demanding maximum transparency in order that a broad public debate can be conducted on whether such a treaty is desirable. On Monday, the twelfth round of negotiations gets under way in Geneva.

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5 July 2015

Stop interfering in Greece – it’s their vote

Just as was the case in the Netherlands in 2005, there has been far too much interference from outside the country in a question which, in a democratic fashion, has been put before the electorate of a European Union member state.

SP Senator and Chair of the United Left in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Tiny Kox gives his view.

The president of the European Parliament is calling for fresh elections in Greece and an interim government of technocrats, all because of the referendum in the country next Sunday. Calling for regime change in response to a democratic decision by a member state of the European Union and the eurozone? Can things get any more bizarre than that?

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3 July 2015

Harry van Bommel: Extend regulation on compensation for surviving relations of victims of ‘Policing Actions’

This coming September 10th is the closing date for possible claims for damages from surviving relations of the Indonesians summarily executed by Dutch soldiers during so-called Policing Actions between 1946 and 1949. The Netherlands introduced this rule on 10th  September 2013 after the Committee on Dutch Debts of Honour, aided by Liesbeth Zegveld, lawyer for the widows of South Sulawesi, had succeeded in forcing the payment of compensation.

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30 June 2015

Thanks to the Netherlands, the Greek treasury has lost millions

The Netherlands is a tax haven. Not for ordinary men and women, but for multi-national corporations (MNCs) who set up post-box firms in order to evade taxes. One of these corporations is Canadian concern Eldorado Gold, which is guilty of human rights abuses and causing serious environmental damage in Greece. The Foundation for Research into Multi-National Corporations (known by its Dutch-language acronym, SOMO), recently published a report on the matter. The SP monthly magazine Spanning spoke to Indra Römgens, one of the report’s authors.

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28 June 2015

Emile Roemer: The Greeks must decide it

In the last few months the question has often been posed: should Greece quit the euro? My answer is always the same: the Greeks will decide that for themselves.

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