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Sinn Féin demand Commission back up claims on Veto

20 May, 2008

Press Statement May 20th 2008
Sinn Féin demand Commission back up claims on Veto
Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD

For immediate release

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has today challenged the European Commission to publicly state where in the text of the Lisbon Treaty does it say that the veto on international trade agreements is retained by member states.

The Kerry TD said:

"It is simply not sufficient for the Irish government, political parties and the EU Commission to refute the loss of the veto on international trade agreements without references to the Treaty text itself. Expecting the farming community to blindly accept the EU Commission's word is a shocking display of arrogance.

"Following a statement issued last week by the EU Commission Sinn Féin submitted a number of detailed questions to their Dublin office seeking clarification on the loss of veto and in turn made a number of follow up calls. The Commission office has yet to respond.

"The Lisbon Treaty text clearly states that Article 188 of the Treaty replaces unanimity decision making on the Council of Ministers, the body that mandates the Commission on its WTO negotiations, with qualified majority voting (QMV) on trade agreements. The veto is lost.

"In addition Article 10(a) mandates the 'progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade' to be one of the EUs guiding principles in its interaction with non EU member states.

"Combine these two factors and what you have is the strengthening of EU Commission's ability to pursue aggressive trade deals not in Ireland's interest and the removal of the Irish government's ability block such deals. This is bad for Ireland.

"I want European Commission Spokesman for Trade Peter Power to tell me where exactly in the Lisbon Treaty text does it say that member states retain the right to veto international trade agreements. It is simply not good enough for the Commission to issue statements on such an important element of the Treaty without backing up their view with reference to the Lisbon Treaty text itself." CRÍOCH

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