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1 December 2016 Edition

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Another Europe is possible – Treo eile don Eoraip

Funded by the European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) – Aontas Clé na hEorpa/Na Glasaigh Chlé Nordacha Crúpa Paliminta – Parlaimimt na h Eorpa

Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz calls for immediate halt to tax havens

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 Joseph Stiglitz

NOBEL LAUREATE for Economics Joseph Stiglitz and the head of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT), José Antonio Campo, addressed the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) at the invitation of the GUE/NGL Group on tax justice and international transparency.

Stiglitz has just co-authored a report with Swiss anti-corruption lawyer Professor Mark Pieth which originates from their resignation from Panama's own commission into the Panama Papers scandal - citing a lack of commitment from the government to undergo meaningful reforms and transparency after the revelations.

ICRICT, meanwhile, has also gone public with its own report on international tax competition.

GUE/NGL’s Fabio De Masi MEP, Vice-Chair of the PANA Committee, said in addressing Stiglitz during the hearing:

“Joe Stiglitz basically confirmed all the elements of a fairer tax system that we have long called for: starting with zero tolerance for secrecy through comprehensive and public registers for the beneficial owners of companies and trusts, as well as a fully-fledged country by country reporting.

“When battling money-laundering and tax crime, we need a strong focus on the enforcement of rules: from penalties such as licence withdrawal for banks and law firms to source taxes and restrictions on financial market access for jurisdictions that refuse to reform.

“Without tax justice, there is no end to this disastrous austerity regime in the EU. Without an end to austerity, there is no future for the EU.”

MEPs can support farmers or trade deals like CETA but not both – Matt Carthy

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• Matt Carthy MEP

THE European Commission itself has proven that Irish MEPs can be on the side of farmers or support trade agreements such as the EU-Canada (CETA) deal, but they can no longer claim to do both, Midlands North West MEP Matt Carthy said after publication of a European Commission report into the Cumulative Effects of Trade Agreements.

Matt Carthy said:

“Considering the findings of this report, it is not surprising that the European Commission chose to release its result only after the Wallonian Parliament was forced to accept the terms of the EU-Canada Trade Agreement (CETA).”

This report proves the “catastrophic projections” for the beef and sheep meat sectors that MEPs have consistently warned of, he said, with the success of other sectors such as pigmeat contingent only on the failure of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) parties to erode East-Asian markets.

“While the report does claim some positive effects for dairy processors, increases in production in that sector are estimated to lead to a higher availability of meat from European dairy herds, further causing a steep drop in meat prices by up to 16%

“The results of this study are damning for the Irish agricultural sector and statements by the Commissioner that this study will provide ‘ammunition’ to the EU in its talks with Mercosur are delusional, to say the least.” 

"There is now an onus on Irish representatives at an EU level to heed the severe warnings that this report merely adds to.

"They have a choice to make in advance of the European Parliament vote on CETA, due to take place in December," Matt Carthy said.

"They can either support Irish farmers or they can support regressive trade deals such as CETA and TTIP, but they can't do both."

European Parliament adopts Ní Riada’s proposal for North in Budget 2017

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• Liadh Ní Riada MEP

IRELAND SOUTH Liadh Ní Riada MEP has welcomed the European Parliament’s incorporation of her proposal for the need for measures to ensure the protection of the instruments of the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process, including support for regions such as the North and the Border areas.

She said the move “shows a welcome level of commitment to upholding the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement and I am happy to see that it is a key priority of the Parliament as demonstrated by the inclusion of the Article in the Resolution”. 

She said that the Irish and British governments must now follow up in ensuring the North “gets the best out of a bad situation as a result of Brexit”, Westminster’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Lynn Boylan MEP joins European Parliament Brexit Working Group

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• Lynn Boylan MEP

LYNN BOYLAN MEP has been appointed as a representative to the European Parliament Brexit Working Group for the Employment & Social Affairs Committee.

“It is a great honour to have been appointed by my parliamentary group, GUE/NGL, to serve as our representative on this European Parliament Working Group on Brexit, the British Government’s withdrawal from the EU.

“It is especially important that Ireland has its voice heard here in the European Parliament, not only to educate our colleagues from across the EU on the precarious position that Ireland now finds itself in due to the Brexit vote but also to get across the necessity in making sure that Ireland does not suffer collateral damage in the fall-out of the negotiations.

“Every day 30,000 workers go between the North and South of Ireland for work. It is imperative that their concerns are raised in Brussels.

“It further provides the platform to make sure that my colleagues realise that the North of Ireland voted to remain in the EU and that their wishes should be respected.”

She said it will also allow her the opportunity to outline what needs to change about the EU to address the issues which caused the Brexit vote, “such as who and why people have started to lose faith in the European project and what radical and progressive reform is needed to make sure the EU returns to its core principles of a social and caring Europe and a Europe of equals”.

• Lynn has also been appointed as a key negotiator on tightening up advertising and marketing to children, including ‘junk food’, on TV, radio and social media.

Disability rights conference in Louth hears ‘Brexit will take us backwards’

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•  Kyla Hollywood, Campaigns Officer with Trailblazers (Muscular Dystrophy network of young disabled campaigners), at the conference with Matt Carthy MEP, Martina Anderson MEP and Mickey Brady MP

MEP MARTINA ANDERSON hosted a major conference in County Louth to discuss the impact of Britain’s “Brexit” EU referendum on people with disabilities. 

The ‘Unite For Rights’ conference brought together a range of experts from across Europe to examine disability rights.

Among those taking part in the conference were:-

Les Allamby, from the North’s Human Rights Commission;

Monica Wilson, Disability Action;

British Labour Party MEP Julie Ward; and

An-Sofie Leenknecht, Human Rights Officer with the European Disability Forum.

Speaking at the conference, Martina Anderson said:

“We face the challenges of austerity, the failure to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the British Government’s plan to scrap the Human Rights Act, and we face Brexit.

“It is shameful and unacceptable that the Irish Government has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

“It has taken decades to build rights and protections, to put people at the centre of policies, whether at a European level or indeed here in Ireland.

“Brexit will take us backwards. We need to unite to protect those rights.”

GUE/NGL unreservedly condemns arrests of HDP leaders and MPs in Turkey

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THE European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament has unreservedly condemned the arrests of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs and eight other HDP MPs in Turkey.

HDP co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, as well as eight other members of the Grand National Assembly, were arrested on 4 and 7 November.

These arrests are part of what GUE/NGL called “a months-long assault” on HDP politicians by President Erdoğan and the AKP government. 

Since May 2016, 55 out of 59 HDP MPs have been stripped of their parliamentary immunity, and thousands of HDP executive members and affiliates are currently detained, including mayors and local councillors.

GUE/NGL has called on Commission President Juncker, Council President Tusk, Commission Vice-President Mogherini and the heads of states and governments of the European Union to:

»Revoke the EU-Turkey statement, putting an end to this agreement;

»Freeze the accession negotiations until the rule of law has been restored;

»Consider sanctions against the Turkish authorities.

Meanwhile, MEP Matt Carthy has written to Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and to EU Foreign Affairs representative Frederica Mogherina on the political crackdown.

“The rationale provided for these mass political arrests is spurious and the development is entirely unacceptable,” he said.

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