Plenary Focus - January 2016
Situation of the Kurds
The Turkish authorities continue to attack the Kurdish population in southeast Turkey. Cities are being attacked by military tanks and bombs, civilians are being killed, including women and children, schools are under siege, hospitals are being transformed into bunkers, and systematic curfews are being imposed on towns and villages. Since the EU made a dirty deal with Erdoğan because of the refugee crisis, it remains alarmingly silent on the human rights violations against the Kurds. We requested an urgent EP debate to be added to the week’s session. We call on the EU to address an urgent call to the Turkish authorities to stop the violence against civilians.
Programme of activities of the Dutch presidency
Cornelis de Jong
Instead of being ‘pragmatic’, as advocated by the Dutch Prime Minister, the Dutch presidency should effectively deal with the many crises the EU is facing by showing vision. In particular, it should make a priority of respecting and strengthening the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all and especially of vulnerable people, such as refugees, the unemployed and people living in poverty
Towards a Digital Single Market
Cornelis de Jong
In itself, buying products on-line is on the rise and can be a benefit for many. However, we shall have to carefully protect the rights of consumers which should not be different from when they buy products in brick-and-mortar shops. Moreover, the digital market can lead to a further concentration of market players to the detriment of small, independent companies. We have to restrict oligopolies and monopolies that may otherwise dominate and abuse their position.
Skills policies to fight youth unemployment
Eight years after the economic crisis began, youth unemployment in the EU remains higher than 20% and more than double the general unemployment rate. The measures taken by the EU to date to address this have been insufficiently funded and ineffectively implemented. It is a positive step for the European Parliament to consider the skills policies that can help break down the structural barriers young people face in gaining employment. But we need to acknowledge that without an end to austerity, and the introduction of job-creation policies, the youth unemployment crisis will not be resolved. Our Group has negotiated many improvements to this report, ensuring it calls for the maximum input from young people in implementing the Youth Employment Initiative, for an end to apprentice fees, and for an end to abusive and exploitative practices in internships and traineeships.
Digital Single Market
When people talk about the Digital Single Market, they are generally talking about the importance of citizens’ trust in the digital environment. Most of the time, what we hear are empty words. But citizens’ trust cannot be taken for granted and it is crucial to understand that this trust is based on the security and safety of digital services and e-commerce. Data protection, consumer rights and IT security are at the basis of trust and should not be undermined.
Intercultural dialogue is not only a tool for conflict resolution. It is a social process in its own right. GUE/NGL reiterates the importance of social justice and equality in a common EU approach. Our demands include: to foster cultural diversity in youth programmes but also in the culture and media sectors; to promote access to multicultural and multilingual skills for teachers; to encourage EU institutions to broaden their analysis to all forms of radicalisation and to counteract all forms of extremism and discrimination.