Sinn Féin - On Your Side

de Brún joins French and Dutch colleagues for press conference on Lisbon Treaty

17 June, 2008

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún today joined French and Dutch colleagues from the European United Left/Nordic Green Party EU parliamentary group of which Sinn Féin is a member at a press conference hosted by the group in Strasburg on the outcome of the Irish Lisbon Treaty referendum.

The Sinn Fein MEP said:

"Following last week's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the Irish people An Taoiseach Brian Cowen has been given a real opportunity by the Irish people to get a better deal. What is imperative is that he uses this mandate effectively.

"The facts are before us. The Treaty needs the support of all member states in order to come into effect. The Irish people have overwhelmingly rejected the Treaty so for now the EU will continue to function under existing treaties until a better deal for all the peoples of Europe is negotiated.

"Consensus is the glue of the European Union. Threats of a two speed Europe or of Irish isolation have no legitimacy.

"Mr. Cowen must be firm in his resolve when he attends this week's Council of Ministers meeting. All Irish government Ministers need to tell their European counterparts directly, the ratification process should stop.

"The Irish people are not looking for minor alterations or cosmetic changes to the Lisbon Treaty. Trade Unions, business groups, civic society, via opinion polls and on the doors the people of Ireland have outlined their concerns. Democracy, neutrality, workers rights ad public services have all been recurring issues throughout the campaign.

"Sinn Féin believes that these issues need to be addressed, at a minimum, in any future Treaty.

"Democracy - there are some issues which involve maintaining the current position - retaining a permanent commissioner, our current voting strength at the European Council and key strategic vetoes such as on the outcome of international trade talks - and some issues which need to be strengthened such as the powers for parliaments in member states and for citizens. We also need to see the removal of the controversial self-amending articles.

"Neutrality - A specific protocol in the Treaty protecting neutrality is required and opt outs from other aspects of an emerging EU common foreign and security policy such as an end to taxpayers money being diverted to the European Defence Agency or being used for any EU military purposes. We also need a protocol to opt out from the European Atomic Energy Treaty.

"Workers rights and public services - explicit amendments are required to ensure greater protection of workers rights and to stop the opening up of vital public services to competition. We also need measures to strengthen the social content of the EU project in order to balance the need for economic competitiveness with social cohesion and sustainable development." ENDS

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