15 April 2015

Influence of lobbyists in Europe is undermining democracy

Corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) today published its report on the influence of lobbyists in Europe. The situation it describes is alarming: neither the European Union’s institutions nor the majority of member states has effective legislation to counter the undue influence of lobbyists. Commenting on the report, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong says ‘TI have shown that a lot of lobbying practices take place in dark corners, that there is a constant risk of conflicts of interest among politicians and officials both in Brussels and the member states, most of them emanating from representatives of major corporations. This is undermining democracy. That’s why in Brussels we need to immediately set up a compulsory lobby register and use a “footprint” to make it clear which lobbyists have influenced the European Commission’s legislative proposals and legislative reports from the European Parliament.’

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14 April 2015

Accepting Guantánamo’s prisoners is no solution says Harry van Bommel

During his 2008 election campaign, Barack Obama promised big changes in his country’s foreign policies. Withdrawal from Iraq and closure of Guantánamo Bay. Both promises went down well, because the American people were fed up of constantly having to fork out for the fight against terrorism. Obama hasn’t, however, been able to make good on them: the US is back in Iraq and Guantánamo can only be closed if countries other than the United States are prepared to accept them. For all sorts of reasons, doing so would be unwise.

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13 April 2015

How Varoufakis became an Erratic Marxist

In 2013, almost two years prior to Yanis Varoufakis becoming Greece’s Finance Minister, he gave a speech in Zagreb in which he revealed how his political development had unfolded. He remains an admirer of Marx, but does not believe that the overthrow of the capitalist system in Europe is a realistic goal in the present context. This would, he argues, present the Greek and European peoples with too many major risks.

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8 April 2015

The rise of Syriza is important for the whole of Europe

On 25th January Syriza wrote a new page in Greece’s history, recording a famous victory. The party won the elections with more than 36% of the votes. Its message was that an end must be put to the austerity policies prescribed by the EU and the IMF as a condition of the support packages which the country had accepted. Syriza has during that same period developed into a symbol of the fresh, leftwards wind blowing through Mediterranean Europe, forming a break with the neoliberal thought that has prevailed during the crisis. The article below analyses the rise of Syriza in the context of the present European Union and shows why the party’s election victory concerns all Europeans. 

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19 March 2015

SP: once more, a great result! Biggest party on the left

Foto: SP

Speaking to party activists, in celebratory mood as it became clear that the SP had once again recorded an extremely positive result, party leader Emile Roemer told them: ‘This is an historic evening. We have become the biggest left party in the Netherlands. The SP is a powerful factor in the Senate. An ideal starting point for the SP to be elected to government at the next general election.'

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18 March 2015

Malmström proposals on TTIP toothless

Foto: SP

New proposals from EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström – intended to make more acceptable the Investor-State Dispute Settlements system (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently under negotiation with the United States - do nothing whatsoever to address the core of the problem. The central issues simply remain unresolved, and the 150,000 reactions to the European Commission’s public consultation are in reality being ignored.

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16 March 2015

Remi Poppe: ‘Close the borders!’

There are people who think that closing the borders of our country could solve a great many problems. There are politicians who claim that closing the borders will keep terrorists out.

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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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