Heated discussions during European election debate in Amsterdam
During the election debate between ten candidate MEPs (Members of European Parliament) yesterday evening in the Brakke Grond in Amsterdam, several issues are highlighted. Candidates explain how their parties think about the use of biofuels, mandatory production criteria for clothing sold in the EU and on the approach to tax avoidance. All participants acknowledge that there are problems related to these issues, but they differ on their preferred solutions to these problems. Tempers start to run high when the free trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU (TTIP) is discussed.
For some, this free trade agreement is a blatant violation of self-determination and democratic values, for others it is the golden ticket to growth and prosperity. "The whole treaty might not even become a reality!", Dirk Gotink (CDA) argues at one point. Tempers run high as Bas Eickhout (GreenLeft) puts his colleagues on the spot by asking them to take a position on the controversial Investor State Settlement Dispute (ISDS) clause in TTIP. This clause gives companies the exclusive right to sue states if new policies threaten to reduce their profit margins.
Investments always beneficial?
GreenLeft, the Socialist Party (SP), the Animal Party, the Labour Party and the Pirate Party are against the inclusion of the ISDS clause in TTIP. The Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) wants to examine whether the clause is necessary and the Christian Democratic candidate cannot be tempted to take a position tonight. Maarten Smit (VVD) stresses the economic growth that TTIP creates according to some calculations and Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (the liberal D66) announces confidently that "Investments are good!" An axiom that is strongly contested by the audience: "There are good investments, but certainly bad ones as well", claims a gentleman in the audience.
Undemocratic and opaque
Critical questions are raised about the way TTIP is negotiated. The European Parliament can only vote for or against the treaty when the end result is presented and is not allowed to make amendments. Erik Wesselius (SP) also points to the disproportionate influence of corporate lobbyists on the negotiations.
Short and sweet
At the end of the debate, moderator Sandra Rotterberg sums up the common feeling of the evening: we have heard a lot, learned a lot and we now have an idea of the positions of the various parties on issues that we feel strongly about. However, the debate is not over yet!
The debate in the Brakke Grond was organised by the Fair Green & Global Alliance (consisting of ActionAid, Both Ends, Clean Clothes Campaign, Friends, SOMO & TNI) in order to move beyond the for-or-against Europe discussion and engage in a serious debate about real issues. As Matthijs Pontier (Pirate Party) puts it: "We are not for or against Europe: we want to fix Europe."
Read more about this subject
News / 10 February 2020
Civil society organisations from around the world condemn the statements by representatives of palm oil companies during a meeting with the Malaysian government. In this meeting, the company representatives called critical NGOs "toxic entities" and asked the Malaysian government to not let these NGOs into the country. Both ENDS' partners have published a reaction in which they defend their right "to expose the realities we face in their communities about the impacts of the palm oil sector".
News / 10 February 2020
Over 70 organisations worldwide have signed an open letter to call upon the Dutch government to vote against CETA - the 'Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement'between Canada and the EU this week. They have serious concerns about the negative global social and environmental impacts of the CETA trade deal and similar upcoming European Union's trade agreements.
Press release / 3 February 2020
Amsterdam, 3 February 2020 - A step forward, but oil and gas remain a blind spot in Dutch pension fund ABP's new investment policy published today. That's what environmental organisations Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace Netherlands and urgewald say in response to the new climate policy of the EU's largest pension fund, with assets over 442 billion euros. Although ABP is taking first steps to invest sustainably, more is needed to stop the climate crisis.
News / 2 February 2020
The world has to stop using fossil fuels, but investment in the sector continues unabated. Investors of all kinds, including banks, insurance companies and pension funds, are hesitant about making the change to sustainable energy and are not sure where to start. In the autumn of 2019, together with the DivestInvest Network and Sustainable Energy (Denmark), Both ENDS published a report entitled ‘Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses’. The report describes five criteria to test whether companies in the fossil sector are actively taking steps to wind down their fossil activities. The criteria are helping investors to choose investments that are in line with the Paris goal of restricting global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. We spoke to Lars Jensen, Senior Analyst at Sustainable Energy and lead author of the report.
Blog / 21 January 2020By Michael Rice
Photo Blog - Like many communities in Indonesia, life in Semanga Village, West Kalimantan, revolves around a river. The 90 or so houses follow the curving bank of the Sambas River, each with a path down to a small pontoon where fishing traps and baskets are stacked and boats are tied.
News / 24 December 2019
We have already defined our own Green New Years resolutions!
Publication / 23 December 2019
News / 16 December 2019
Earlier this month, the seven men found guilty of the murder of Berta Cáceres were sentenced to jail for periods between 30 and 50 years. The court confirmed its opinion that Berta Cáceres was murdered for her role in defending the rights of the indigenous Lenca communities.
News / 9 December 2019
At the end of November, the organisations WALHI South Sulawesi (part of Friends of the Earth) and Both ENDS filed a formal complaint with the Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB. Despite the warnings from local communities for the negative consequences of a land reclamation project in the bay of Makassar, Atradius DSB advised the Dutch government to provide dredging company Boskalis with insurance for the execution of the project. The consequences for the fish stock, the beach and the lives of thousands of small-scale fishermen and their families are severe. Atradius DSB has not sufficiently investigated these harmful consequences beforehand.
Event / 4 December 2019, 15:00 - 16:30
On Wednesday December 4th 2019 Both ENDS together with Heinrich Böll Stiftung from he US organises a side event at the UNFCCC COP in Madrid: Can the GCF Catalyze Inclusive, Gender-Responsive Local Climate Action Globally and in Latin America?
News / 26 November 2019
No fewer than 55 NGO's, foundations and associations, many of whom do not normally deal primarily with climate change, express their concern about the dangers of climate change for everyone and everything in the statement 'The climate belongs to everyone'.
They call for urgent action and support the international Climate Strike taking place this Friday, November 29. In cities all over the world, young and old will take to the streets again. In the Netherlands too, climate strikes will be organised in many cities.
News / 18 November 2019
Good news for the climate: last week, the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop investing in fossil fuels by 2021. This is part of its new energy strategy.
Press release / 18 November 2019
The Netherlands provides export credit insurances and guarantees worth 1.5 billion euros annually to Dutch companies active in the oil and gas sector abroad. This support amounts to one and a half times the annual amount that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte mobilises for climate initiatives worldwide. The intended effects of Dutch international climate policy are more than offset by this fossil export support. That is the conclusion of a new report from Both ENDS which is published today.
Publication / 17 November 2019
Publication / 8 November 2019
Publication / 8 November 2019
Video / 8 November 2019
The Athi River Community Network is made up of communities who live along the Athi River watershed. Members of the Athi River Community Network promised to join forces with the Friends of Ondiri Wetland to ensure that this critical wetland is restored and conserved for the sake of current and future generations.
News / 8 November 2019
On Thursday November 7th, a group of European NGO's including Both ENDS, sent a letter to Vice-President of the EU Frans Timmermans, in which they ask him to support the phase out of European Investment Bank’s fossil fuel financing by the end of 2020.
News / 5 November 2019
After a complaint filed by women's groups from Ixquisis, Guatemala, the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) has started an investigation on several policy violations, amongst which the Gender Equality policy. This is a unique chance to create a precedent, because complaints on the IDB's gender policy are very rare. The women from Ixquisis are fighting for their rights with support of the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA).
News / 31 October 2019
Earlier this month, we learned that Golfrid Siregar, an Indonesian environmental lawyer working for our partner organisation WALHI died under suspicious circumstances. We call for a thorough and transparent investigation and have brought the case to the attention of the Indonesian embassy in The Hague and to the Netherlands' embassy in Jakarta.