Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson along with the other two Northern MEP’s will appear before the Committee of OFMdFM tomorrow (Wednesday 14 November) to apprise the Assembly of opportunities and implications of EU Programmes.
Speaking before attending Martina Anderson said:
“I intend to inform the OFMdFM Committee mainly of the opportunities available through direct engagement with European Institutions but I will also apprise them of areas of concern such as when I received the New Code of Conduct for MEPs. This code in my view encourages a Culture of Corruption where lobbyists can buy support/votes by providing MEPs with holidays in €300 a night rooms and flights which do not have to be declared.
“I also have much concern about the direction being taken as the EU Ruling class drive forward a Europe regulated by the financial market where we are witnessing a flight from democracy as the politics and polices are driven by the dictatorship of the bigger member states like Germany. In the rush to save toxic banks, democracy is being gradually eroded with increasing numbers of decisions being taken in Council, Summit or Commission.
“Although there is much that needs fixing in the EU there are many opportunities that could assist in economic recovery. There are some 400 funding streams in Europe – of course we cannot access all of them but we need to identify those that we can and utilise them for maximum benefit. “R&D, SME’s, Universities and CAP are just some of the areas that should be explored and developed with a view to assisting local business and reinvigorating our economy.
“A close examination of Research and Development drawdown shows that the southern authorities have secured in the region of €700 million for R&D while the North secured a mere €42 - €50million over the same period.“I am meeting with Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn's adviser next week in Strasbourg to ascertain how our SME’s and Universities can better access funding opportunities from what is available and also looking ahead to the 2014 – Horizon programme.“I have already met with University of Ulster and DETI officials and am assured that all are working at achieving the target set by the Executive of a 20% EU funding drawdown. I intend to follow up with meetings with InterTradeIreland to inform myself on how it brings key researchers from specific sectors together.
“A major conference to be held in May next year on Tele-monitoring, linking EU/Belfast/Boston will present business in the North West with opportunities to exploit projects such as CTric, Derry/ Boston initiative, Magee and Project Kelvin Telehouse links. These will just be some areas that I will be bringing a focus to.”