24 April 2015

Bed and Board

The coalition of the right-wing liberals of the VVD and the centre-left PvdA (Labour Party) is to put pressure on local authorities to put an end to their provision of reception and accommodation facilities for asylum seekers whose applications have been refused. In the country’s five biggest cities new centres will replace them, with the sole aim of as quickly as possible getting the failed asylum seekers either on to a plane or on to the streets.

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24 April 2015

The Netherlands could help put EU finance on a sounder footing

When the Netherlands takes its turn as president of the European Union in 2016, it should use the opportunity to put an end to the EU’s wasting of money and to the unnecessary pumping of funds from the member states to Brussels and back again.

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23 April 2015

Mass grave in the Mediterranean

A massive human tragedy is playing itself out on the Mediterranean Sea, a tragedy which has already been going on for years and which is growing ever worse. The total number of refugees who have drowned runs now to many thousands, all of them of Middle Eastern, North African or sub-Saharan African origin.

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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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