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Delay in EU Constitution provides a 'golden opportunity to address its fundamental flaws'

1 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin EU Candidate Mary Lou McDonald has today called on the Taoiseach to use the period before the draft Constitutional treaty is formally agreed to "address its fundamental flaws". Ms McDonald was responding to the

Taoiseach's address to the parliament in Strasbourg yesterday (31.03.04), when he admitted that the draft Constitution would not be agreed before the EU elections in June.

Speaking after challenging the Taoiseach at the Forum on Europe in Dublin today, Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin is opposed to the current direction of the EU as reflected in the draft EU Constitution - that is, the development of the EU as a proto-state and a military and economic superpower. As we made clear in our submission to the Government nearly a year ago, we cannot support the draft Constitution in its current form because it fundamentally favours the big wealthy states, will create a 'two-speed' Europe dominated by powerful elites, and takes even more sovereignty away from national governments. It does not redress the democratic deficit. It also accelerates the ongoing militarisation of the EU and privileges NATO states. As such it has very negative implications for the future of Irish neutrality.

"The Taoiseach's announcement yesterday that the draft EU Constitution will not be agreed before the June EU elections provides us with a window of opportunity to put right the deficiencies Sinn Fein identified in the draft. This period is crucial. It represents the last chance for the Irish Government to get the needed fundamental protections for Irish sovereignty and neutrality and to push for an EU of equal states.

"I therefore appeal to the Taoiseach to take on board all the concerns that have been raised by Sinn Fein and others. If his Government fails to do so, they will have only themselves to blame if the Irish people vote to reject yet again. I urge him to seriously consider this prospect and negotiate accordingly in the period preceding the June Inter-Governmental Conference." ENDS

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