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11 March 2015

SP welcomes enquiry into minimum wage for all truck drivers operating in the Netherlands

Employment Minister Lodewijk Asscher is to look into the ways in which the minimum wage could be made obligatory for all truck drivers operating in the Netherlands, regardless of whether they are Dutch or come from another member state. SP Members of Parliament Paul Ulenbelt and Farshad Bashir – spokesman respectively on employment-related matters and transport – both welcomed the government’s announcement that it would examine the issue of discriminatory wages in the sector, as the SP has proposed. ‘This is a major breakthrough,’ said Bashir. ‘Hopefully it will put an end to the exploitation of foreign drivers and to Dutch drivers being priced out.’

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10 March 2015

SP: New hope for truck drivers as European Commission outlines plans to tackle exploitation and displacement

European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc today addressed a cross-party group of MEPs, headed by the SP’s Dennis de Jong, on the subject of her plans to tackle exploitation and displacement of truck drivers, raising high expectations. ´Bulc looked positively at our proposals for tightening EU legislation on cabotage and against the use of mailbox companies,’ says De Jong. ‘In addition, she wants to strengthen cooperation between inspection services in Europe by giving one of the existing EU Agencies new responsibilities. She’s looking to make possible a solution to the problem of enforcement of the minimum wage as well as addressing the issue of cabotage trips, without imposing unnecessary administrative formalities. Her commitments create confidence, but obviously what count in the end are her concrete actions.’

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10 March 2015

SP: New hope for truck drivers as European Commission outlines plans to tackle exploitation and displacement

Foto: SP

European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc today addressed a cross-party group of MEPs, headed by the SP’s Dennis de Jong, on the subject of her plans to tackle exploitation and displacement of truck drivers, raising high expectations. ´Bulc looked positively at our proposals for tightening EU legislation on cabotage and against the use of mailbox companies,’ says De Jong. ‘In addition, she wants to strengthen cooperation between inspection services in Europe by giving one of the existing EU Agencies new responsibilities. She’s looking to make possible a solution to the problem of enforcement of the minimum wage as well as addressing the issue of cabotage trips, without imposing unnecessary administrative formalities. Her commitments create confidence, but obviously what count in the end are her concrete actions.’

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10 March 2015

Jasper van Dijk and Anne-Marie Mineur: No TTIP without a referendum

The new European Commission wants to change completely the way things are done. Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Dutch Commissioner Frans Timmermans are at one in their view that many EU member states’ citizens have had enough of Brussels’ passion for interference, and national parliaments must be hampered as little as possible. Or so we’re told.

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3 March 2015

Harry van Bommel: "Netanyahu is an obstacle to peace"

On Tuesday Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United States Congress. He had only one message: ‘Stop Obama from signing a nuclear agreement with Iran!' He said that in his opinion the struggle against  Iran is much more important than the struggle against ISIS.

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2 March 2015

Ploumen Plan doesn’t match dangers of TTIP

Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen today joined five EU member state colleagues in launching a plan for an international court to settle trade disputes. In doing so Ploumen is at last recognising the dangers presented by the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), a clause in trade agreements which allows corporations to bring legal actions against states. But in the SP’s assessment the government’s plan is insufficient to counter the damaging effects of the free trade agreements with the US and Canada, respectively the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

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28 February 2015

Labour gives way to centre-right coalition partners: JSF will be coming

The coalition government, which includes the Labour Party (PvdA), is going ahead with the purchase of eight Joint Strike Fighters. The JSF is a fighter-bomber the acquisition of which was opposed unequivocally by Labour during the last parliamentary election, yet that position has now been reversed. As SP Member of Parliament and defence spokesman SP Jasper van Dijk concluded after last week’s parliamentary debate on the matter, ‘The PvdA is even more manoeuvrable than the JSF.’

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27 February 2015

Energy policy must remain in national hands

On Tuesday the European Commission published its plan for an energy union. The Commission wants more say in energy policy, which is at present in the hands of the member states. That’s how it must stay, in the opinion of the SP. It would be positive were member states to link their grids, but each country must be able to determine for itself how they generate energy.

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26 February 2015

SP: Government must not permit human rights abuses

The Court of Justice in The Hague last week ruled that the European Patents Organisation (EPO) is in conflict with important European fundamental rights, such as the right to strike. Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten is, however, refusing to give effect to the judgment, on the grounds that the EPO – not an EU institution, but one with thirty-eight member states, including all EU countries - is an independent organisation and therefore enjoys immunity. SP Member of Parliament Michiel van Nispen finds this reasoning absurd, he says. ‘The minister is thus approving the silencing of trade unions and the fact that workers can’t in the end enforce their rights,’ he points out. ‘Independent organisations should not be hampered in their functioning, but that doesn’t mean that they have carte blanche to transgress human rights and ignore judicial rulings.’

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