21 April 2015

European action plan for boat refugees unsatisfactory

On 20th April the European Union’s Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs together with its Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers agreed a ten-point to address the crisis surrounding refugees who attempt to cross from Africa into Europe by boat. But SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen, the party’s spokeswoman on justice, is critical of the plan. ‘The ministers are giving more money to fund operations in the Mediterranean Sea, but just what form these operations will take is unclear,’ she says. ‘I want the first priority now to be the establishment of a reliable system for saving people’s lives.’ SP colleague Euro-MP Dennis de Jong adds that what’s needed are ‘structural solutions: reception and accommodation in the region must be strengthened, but at the same time the EU member states must fulfil their obligations under the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Refugees have a right to protection.’

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20 April 2015

The Billion Euro Man

Foto: Nick.mon

In order to fight the ongoing crisis the European Central Bank is pumping the unimaginable sum of €1.1 billion into the eurozone. Where is this money to come from and precisely where will it go? And, above all, who decides these things? At the same time, social resistance to the institution is growing.

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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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