Stop the persecution of DTP in Turkey

May 5, 2009
Stop the persecution of DTP in Turkey

The Turkish state must immediately put an end to persecution of members of the pro-Kurdish party DTP. The EU, Sweden and the international community should be able to play a more active roll and put pressure on Turkey. That was one of the conclusions drawn last week at the Left Party’s conference in the EU Parliament on the situation in Turkey: “The Kurdish human rights situation – A lasting peace and democratic development?”

In the March 29 election, the Democratic Society Party, DTP, made major gains. They doubled the number of DTP mayors, from 50 to over 100. At the same time, fully 100 leading members of DTP have been detained by Turkish authorities for alleged connection to terrorism or “insulting Turkishness” (according to Article 301 of the Turkish constitution).

“It is obvious that the Turkish state is incapable of accepting the DTP’s electoral success. We will be pressuring Turkey to release all of the prisoners and stop the repression,” says Jens Holm, MEP, GUE/NGL and the Swedish Left Party.
In the major city of Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey, the DTP’s candidate, Osman Baydemir, was elected mayor. He now risks being sent to prison on terrorism charges as the result of a farcical judicial process that has been initiated against him.

“The charges against Osman Baydemir must be immediately withdrawn. If he, as a duly elected representative for one of Turkey’s largest cities, can be charged with terrorism, no-one is safe,” says Berivan Öngörur, the Swedish Left Party, candidate to the EU Parliament.

On July 1, Sweden assumes the Presidency of the EU. Amineh Kakabaveh, Member of the Swedish Parliament for the Left Party, feels this would be a fitting occasion for pushing for better conditions in Turkey.

“The Left Party and I will work to see that the Swedish government makes a point of taking up the situation for Kurds and other minorities,” she says.

More information:
Jens Holm, tel: +46 76 847 03 28
Berivan Öngörur, tel: +46 70 955 88 47
Amineh Kakabaveh, tel:  +46 76 130 12 36


Great news from Iceland

Below a short note I wrote for my GUE/NGL-friends.

You have probably already heard about the results from this week-ends electon in Iceland. Our sister party: Left Green (VG) increased from 14 to 21.7 per cent, making them the third biggest party. They and the Socialdemocrats, 29.8, have now a comfortable majority.

The Left Green has been the only party which has been firmly against the neo-liberal politics on the island. Today more and more realize they been right all the time. The new political ”Civil Movement” got about 7 per cent. That is also a promising and interesting expression from the Icelandic people.
A possible EU accession could be one tricky issue in the future. The Left Green are against, the Socialdems in favour. The Iclandics have historically always been against, with the exception for some recent polls showing that a majority was in favour. Today that EU entusiasm have probably gone back substantially (a new poll showed that).
Please see the results:

The Left Green


MEPs get too much money

I often get the question: How much does an MEP earn? Some politicians don’t like that kind of intimate question. I, on the contrary, find them very relevant. We are financed by taxpayers money, so the taxpayers have the right to know.

So this is what we get paid:

According to our national MP standard: in my case, 4500 euros/month.

Travel allowance
Not according to the ticket price, but a lump sum based on the distance you have travelled: approx. 2000 euros/trip (to Brussels or Strasbourg).

Per diem
300 euros/day in Brussels/Strasbourg

General expenses
4000 euros/month

Yes, anyone can see that an MEP can quite easily become rich, very rich, on representing the people that elected him/her. In order to avoid that, I find it crucial to do two things:
1. Struggle as much as I can for reductions of these outrageous expenses (We should not get more money than a national MP; that should be the starting point of the discussion).
2. Give away the money I don’t need to do my work as a politician. I’d estimate that I donate 40,000 – 50,000 euros/year to grassroots organizations and my own party, the Swedish Left Party. is now on the web

meatclimate_vertical_jens.jpgWe have just launched:, on which the report The Livestock Industry and Climate – EU makes Bad Worse can be found on eight different languages.

Toivo from Sweden, Jennifer from Spain, Herma from Germany/Belgium and och Zdenek from the Czech republic.

Indeed very good atmosphere, with activists from Spain, Czech republik, Germany, UK, Sweden and the Netherlands. Among others the conservative MEP Edward McMillan-Scott showed up. He has just launched the ”green card” for vegetarianism. An unexpected but very welcomed allied.

A lot of thanks to all of you that have participated in making this report possible in so many different languages!

Eat less meat!

eatlessmeat.jpg Welcome to the launch of the report The livestock industry and the climate – EU makes bad worse in four new languages: Dutch, Spanish, German and Czech. Previously also in Swedish, English, French and Croatian.
Also launch of the brand new webpage
European Parliament, PHS 1C051, 14.00–15.00 on Wednesday, 4th of March 2009.
Please come and participate in the discussion. Meet vegetarian promoters from Belgium, Spain, Czech Republic and Sweden. Vegetarian as carnivore, all are welcome!
“Recalls the report entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in November 2006, which states that the livestock industry is responsible for 18% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions…”
2050 – The future begins today,
report adopted by the European Parliament 4 February 2009.
Jens Holm, MEP, GUE/NGL
Very welcome!

Climate resolution targets livestock production

On Wednesday, the European Parliament approved the climate resolution “2050 – The future begins today.” I had negotiated for the Left group, GUE/NGL, and for some time prospects looked good. When the climate committee approved the resolution in December, we made the EU’s emissions limits stricter, requiring a 40% reduction in emissions by2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050.  Those limits remain in the document approved on Wednesday but, unfortunately, many of the requirements placed on the meat industry were deleted.

After the climate committee’s vote in December, negotiations between the various party groupings began, as is always the case before plenary sessions on major issues. All of the party groupings were agreed that there would be no changes made in the requirements placed on the meat industry. In particular, this was true of the formulations in paragraph 109, which read:
“…recognises that the cultivation of cereals and soya as feed for livestock is responsible for substantial greenhouse gas emissions; recalls the report entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in November 2006, which states that the livestock industry is responsible for 18% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions; considers that a switch from intensive livestock production to extensive sustainable systems should be encouraged while total meat consumption also needs to be reduced, in particular in industrialised countries.”

The part in bold print above was, unfortunately, stricken (the paragraph in the revised version was given the number 118). Naturally, it is positive that the parliament still acknowledges that the meat industry represents a huge climate issue. But it is most unfortunate, and altogether too typical, that the parliament lacks the nerve to demand that the most obvious measure be taken; that is, that meat consumption be decreased.

Paragraph 119 requires measures regarding concentrated feed. That, in any case, was the idea behind the formulation. Because of compromises made for the plenary vote, this paragraph did not turn out as well as it could have either. It now reads:

”…calls for feed in dairy and meat production to be reviewed, and where necessary improved, with the aim of achieving a reduction in methane formation in the rumen of ruminants…”

Nevertheless, I thank the 162 MEPs who voted in favor of a reduction in meat consumption.

The resolution can be read here: climateresol_florenz_en1.doc

The EU parliament calls meat a climate threat

The EU parliament has concluded that meat consumption contributes to climate change. That is the finding after todays adoption of the climate resolution, ”2050 – The future begins today” (rapporteur: Florenz). Nevertheless, the parliament declined to demand that measures be taken to lower meat consumption. The resolution concerned how the EU will act to combat climate change. It did not contain any concrete proposals for legislation, but laid a course for the future. The parliament has determined that livestock raising and the meat industry account for 18% of the world’s greenhouse emissions.

Jens Holm, MEP GUE/NGL, Swedish Left Party, has worked in the parliament’s climate committee to negotiate the resolution:
“I had proposed demands for actions to lower meat consumption, but unfortunately the majority was not in favor,” says Holm. “I am grateful for the support of the 162 MEPs who voted in favor of demands for lowered consumption. The EU parliament missed an opportunity to take a courageous stand in defense of the environment. But that’s perhaps too much to hope for from representatives who always support agricultural subsidies, especially with regard to their own country’s farmers.”

The EU parliament indicated the future direction for several areas, including:
• More stringent long-term goals for reduced emissions in the EU – a 25-40% reduction by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050. Thus, the parliament has shown its desire to go further than the legislation on climate measures approved in December 2008’s climate package, in which the goal is a reduction of 20% by 2020.

• Acknowledgement that poor countries are the ones most severely affected by climate change and that the EU should therefore increase economic aid to developing countries’ efforts in this area.

Statement on police atrocities in Indonesia

Stockholm, December 20, 2008

I hereby express my outrage against the atrocities committed by police
forces in Suluk Bongkal, Riau, Indonesia. On December 18, 2008 a group
farmers were attacked by a large group of police and hired thugs. Gun
shots and teargas were fired against the farmers. Two helicopters were
used in the attack, and there are reports that napalm was used in the

The farmers of Suluk Bongkal were evicted and made landless in 1997, as
the lands to which legally they inhabited and cultivated were transferred
to the Arara Abadi corporation in a highly corrupt fashion. Since 2007
the farmers, organized in the Riau Peasants Union (STR) have reclaimed
the lands that were stolen from them.

The December 18 attack was one in a series of attempts to break the
resolve of struggle of the Suluk Bongkal peasants. Putri, a 2-year old
child was killed in the attack. 700 houses have been burnt, 200 peasants
have been arrested and another 400 are hiding in the surrounding forests.

The December 18 attack has to be condemned, grave violations of human
rights were committed. The European Union and European governments have
to convey to the Indonesian government that this form of repression and
atrocities cannot be tolerated. Internationally, the support needs to be
mobilized in support of the Riau Peasant Union and the demand for
immediate release of all detainees.

In solidarity,

Jens Holm
Member of the European Parliament

Agreement on the Emission Trading System

Brussels 13/12/08

Agreement between the EP and Council on EU ETS
Today around lunchtime the European Parliament and the Council struck a deal on how to reform the EU Emission Trading Scheme.

– Unfortunately we have missed the chance to create a well functioning trading system but at least the result of the deal means improvements compared to how the system functions today, says Jens Holm and GUE/NGL shadow rapporteur.

– It is very disappointing that up to 50% of the total reduction efforts under the ETS will be allowed to take place outside the EU through Clean Development Mechanism projects. But at least we have a cap of these projects and the possibility to restrict the use of them if the quality proves to be inferior, Holm continues.

– I am happy with the fact that the principle of auctioning, that you have to pay for your emission rights, becomes dominant which is a great difference in comparison to the current system. Unfortunately the deal includes many derogations from this principle. It could have been much better, says Holm.

Today’s deal includes the following:
* The new provision will enter into force in 2013:
* The EU ETS sectors will need to reduce their total emissions with the 21% by 2020 in comparison with 2005 emissions levels;
* 100% auctioning for the power sector but with derogations for the basically the new Member States (including Italy). These countries will receive 70% of their emission allowances for free in 2013 but which will gradually decrease to 2020 when full auctioning will apply;
* Remaining sectors will receive 80% of their emission allowances for free in 2013 but which shall decrease to 30% in 2020. Not until 2027 will 100% auctioning apply;
* Those sectors that might be subject to carbon-leakage (international competition), eg the steel, cement, paper – and chemical industry,  will receive all their emission allowances for free;
* At least 50% of the auctioning revenues should go to climate mitigation and adaptation measures (EU and developing countries) but this is only voluntarily for the Member States;
* A CDM cap is set to 50% of the total reduction effort. Measures is also introduced that will safeguard the quality of this projects.

Pozan: GUE/NGL on the Climate Package

Poznan, 12/12/2008

European Parliament must do all in its power to strengthen Council decisions on climate change

MEPs representing the European United Left/Nordic Green Left Bairbre de Brún (Ireland), Jens Holm (Sweden) and Roberto Musacchio (Italy), who are attending the UN climate change talks in Poznan this week, were strongly critical of the draft decisions emerging from the European Council on climate change today and said that the European Parliament must do everything in its power to strengthen these over the next few days.

Said Bairbre de Brún: ”The Council draft decisions are very disappointing and not as strong as they should be. We must do all that we can to strengthen this package of  legislation in advance of the European Parliament vote next week. If the EU sends a signal that effective actions to tackle climate change can only happen in times of prosperity, how can Europe possibly ask developing countries to act now?”

Jens Holm said he considered  ”unacceptable that more than 50% of EU reductions will be done in other countries. This undermines Europe’s credibility as being a pioneer in the combat against climate change.” However, he remarked that one of the only positive things in the Council’s texts is that there is some earmarking and a decision that 50% of revenues should be used for climate adaptation in both developed and developing countries.

According to Roberto Musacchio ”the Council’s text is not good, not acceptable. It confirms my view that governments have no real understanding of the climate situation. We must all remember that we are in a co-decision procedure, so the European Parliament’s position is very important and this position will be confirmed within the next week. Our group will be doing its utmost to change the Council proposal.”

Gianfranco Battistini +32 475 64 66 28
Gay Kavanagh +32  473 842 320 – Press contact in Poznan