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Irish EU Presidency plans lack vision

19 December, 2003


Sinn Féin Dublin EU Candidate Mary Lou McDonald today expressed disappointment at the Irish government's plans for its Presidency of the European Union. She said that it was a minimalist approach based on maintaining EU business as usual rather than putting their own stamp on the Presidency.

Ms McDonald said:

"The Irish Presidency of the European Union is clearly going to be a tidying up exercise rather than using the opportunity to set out the Irish government‚s own agenda.

"The ongoing EU focus is on enlargement, the EU constitution, Lisbon Agenda and security matters and these are hugely important issues to be addressed but there was and remains an opportunity for the Irish government to also use the six months to set out a distinctly Dublin Agenda.

"The upcoming EU Presidency provides the Irish Government the opportunity to make a major impact on policies across a range of areas and sectors in Europe.

"Sinn Féin is calling on the government to use the Presidency to make the drive for social justice and poverty eradication the main focus of its Presidency and ultimately its legacy. I believe that the government should revisit their plans for the Presidency." ENDS

SINN FÉIN'S TOP 13 RECOMMENDED INITIATIVES FOR A POSITIVE PRESIDENCY

Prioritising Global Social Justice

• Initiate a Global Social Justice Agenda (Dublin Agenda)equivalent to the Lisbon Agenda whose priorities would include UN reform,fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals including DevelopingCountry Debt Cancellation

•Initiate a process of Human Rights/Equality/PovertyProofing of all EU policies

Economic Sovereignty

•Seriously address the problems caused for particularMember States by the fact that some States are in and some are out of theeuro-zone.

•Address the need for a renegotiation of the Stabilityand Growth Pact in order to allow member states to deal effectively withthe specific problems facing their economies.

Implementing CAP Reform and supporting rural regeneration

•Ensure that the CAP reform proposal agreed atLuxembourg in June is fully implemented including full decoupling; andensure that the accession states enter the CAP on an equal basis.

•To establish a full range of complementary rural developmentprogrammes to aid farmers and rural communities in adapting to the changesbrought about by the CAP reform.

•Put complete reform of the Common Fisheries Policy onthe EU agenda

Protecting the Environment

•Campaign to make the EU a GM-Free Zone

•Reduction of emissions on an EU wide basis

Social Protection

•Campaign against the privatisation agenda of theEuropean Union in the Lisbon Agenda and for the defence of public services

•Push for the EU-wide upwards harmonisation of workersrights, including trade union recognition, workers health and safety andprotections for temporary and migrant workers.

•Push for further EU equal rights instruments includinga specific Gender Equality Directive and a Disability Directive whileprioritizing commitments to eradicate poverty and homelessness within theEU

Irish Language

•Ensure that Irish is recognised as an official andworking language of the EU.

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