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McDonald accuses Government of having no backbone over Big Three summit

18 February, 2004


Sinn Fein's EU Candidate for Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald today accused the Irish Government of having "no backbone over the 'Big Three Summit' meeting in Berlin". Germany, France and Britain are holding the summit meeting today (18.02.04), to discuss a range of European issues. This meeting will take place just in advance of a major meeting of the European Council in March.

Responding to the Berlin Summit, Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Fein is concerned that the three most powerful nations in Europe - Germany, France and Britain, are holding a meeting regarding key European issues such as economic growth, immigration and the European constitution. This meeting will be held behind closed doors, and without consultation with the other member states".

"The very fact that the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern does not seem unduly concerned by this meeting, serves to highlight the attitude of the Irish government towards the increasingly elitist and exclusive private club that the EU is being transformed into. Indeed, his lack of concern is not shared by many of his EU counterparts, as both the Spanish and Italian Premiers have protested about their exclusion from the talks. During the Irish Presidency, Mr Ahern should be ensuring a more inclusive dialogue between member states, rather than supporting exclusive meetings by powerful nations. It has become quite clear that Mr Ahern has shown no backbone over the 'Big Three Summit‚ in Berlin, nor indeed any compulsion to try to halt the emerging two-speed‚ Europe.

"This is not the first time that such meetings with selective agendas and selective invitees have occurred. The changing structures of the EU, through the Draft Constitution, facilitate and indeed, encourage such elitist activities by the larger nations. Sinn Fein is concerned that the two tier Europe which we have consistently argued against, is increasingly becoming a reality." ENDS

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