Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sarkozy Must Listen and Cowen must Act

21 July, 2008 - by Pat Sheehan

Speaking before his meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said "Sarkozy must listen and respect the will of the Irish electorate while Brian Cowen must act to ensure that a better deal is secured."

Mr Adams said, "Sinn Féin welcomes the opportunity to put our view to the current President of the European Union.

"Despite the imperfect arrangements surrounding today's meeting with the EU President Mr. Sarkozy is doing what the government have refused to do since the Irish people roundly rejected the Lisbon Treaty. It has been given a strong mandate by the Irish people and has not to date used it, nor have they met with those who campaigned for a No vote.

"Nicolas Sarkozy has the opportunity to play a positive role in the development of the European Union. He can best do this by accepting the need for a new treaty which reflects the concerns of the Irish people and citizens across the EU.

"President Sarkozy's visit also provides an opportunity for the Irish government to set out the need for a new treaty in clear and unambiguous terms.

"Contrary to the views of some European politicians and Irish commentators, another deal is possible. It is true that there is no appetite for a new treaty among some EU leaders, including Mr Sarkozy. However since June 12 a number of member state governments, a wide variety of political voices and important social movements including the European Trade Union Confederation have expressed an interest in re-negotiating key aspects of the treaty. Indeed a majority of public opinion in France and the Netherlands continues to be opposed to the treaty and wants fundamental change.

"The space and the support for a new treaty clearly exists. If the Irish government were to take a lead in building a political and social alliance for a better deal it would reap substantial dividends both in terms of the content of any new treaty and in its standing among the peoples and governments of the EU.

"I do not underestimate the difficulties involved in building support for a new round of negotiations. Sinn Féin wants to play a constructive role and assist the government in what should be a truly national effort. The rejection of the Lisbon Treaty gives the government a strong hand in any future negotiations. The question now is how An Taoiseach will use that hand and whether he has the political will and courage to use it to maximum affect.

"When the European Council meets in October Brian Cowen must call for a new round of negotiations and a new treaty. If he does we all take one step closer to a better deal for Ireland, the EU and the developing world.

"Sinn Féin has already outlined to the government the minimum of what new Treaty deal must contain:

· Retention of a permanent commissioner

· Retention of our existing voting strength at council

· Removal of all self amending clauses including Article 48

· Return or strengthening of key vetoes on public services, taxation and international trade

· Vetoes on all aspects of common foreign and defence policies

· A protocol on neutrality

· New measures to protect workers rights

· New measures to protect public services

· Measures to promote fair trade" ENDS

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