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McDonald accuses Government of "indifference and inaction" on emerging two-speed EU

3 February, 2004

Sinn Fein's EU Candidate for Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald today accused the Government of "passive indifference and inaction on the emergence of a two-speed EU." Referring to the coming February 18 "Big 3 Summit" between Britain, Germany, and France at which they will discuss a range of EU issues including economic growth, immigration and the proposed EU Constitution, McDonald said:

"This is not the first time that such meetings with selective agendas and selective invitees have occurred. Previous meetings led to an agreement between these same states on enhanced cooperation in the area of defence. This is the emerging elitist two tier Europe Sinn Fein have consistently argued against. Unfortunately, we don't have to wait until the proposed Constitution accelerates a two-speed Europe, it is a reality even today."

"And where is the Irish Government in all this? Nowhere.

"The best the Government can commit to is that it 'won't stand in the way' of those states seeking to exercise their dominance via enhanced cooperation. And the Government proved its deference and lack of political will when it stood back while Finland took the lead for the European neutrals in opposing the mutual defence clause in the draft Constitution - an issue that strikes to the heart of Irish foreign policy. That kind of passive indifference and inaction on the emergence of a two tier EU is not good enough. The people of this state deserve better.

"Especially during the Presidency we need our public representatives in Europe to actively campaign against the emergence of a two-tier Europe, and for an EU of equals. This elitist EU power bloc needs to be challenged to stop their end runs around the smaller states, and I urge the Taoiseach to show leadership by using the Presidency to do so." ENDS

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