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McDonald questions Slovenian EU President on Lisbon treaty

16 January, 2008

Speaking during a debate on the Slovenian EU Presidency Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald put a number of questions to Slovenia Prime Minister Dr. Janez Drnovšek following his comments in last week's Irish media that the EU should avoid contentious issues until after the Lisbon Treaty Referendum to be held in Ireland later this year.

The Dublin MEP said, "Last week the Slovenian Prime Minister was quoted in the Irish media saying 'It is very important not to launch some discussions on the European level which could strongly interfere with the ratification debate in ... countries that have a referendum.' I asked Dr. Drnovšek to outline clearly to the parliament what discussions he was referring to.

"I suggested to the Prime Minister that the discussions that he and those proponents of the Lisbon Treaty are keen to avoid are central policy areas such as the enhancing the military capabilities of the EU, the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, and the liberalisation of European health services. What other issues is the European Council planning to avoid in advance of the Irish referendum?

"In December of last year the European Taxation Commissioner László Kovacs told parliament that corporation tax was not now a strategic priority for 2008 but a proposal would be brought forward in the summer work programme. He also noted that if a unanimous decision by member states on harmonising taxation is not forthcoming then majority voting will be used to get the EU's desired result.

"As we all know the temporary shelving of the tax proposals is a direct result of Charlie McCreevy lobbying the Commission to do so on the basis that the issue will impede the governments Yes Campaign in the Lisbon Treaty Referendum.

"The European Parliament and indeed Irish people have a right to know what the future of Europe holds for them. It is wrong that such a cynical and dishonest approach has infiltrated the business of the European parliament." CRÍOCH

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