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'Bias in favour of powerful EU states' - Bairbre de Brún

7 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Six County EU candidate Bairbre de Brún has today criticised the bias in favour of some EU member states, amid reports that the Commission will issue stern warnings to both Italy and the Netherlands, for breaking the rules underpinning the Euro.

Speaking in advance of a meeting today where the Commission is expected to unveil economic reports for EU member states, Ms de Brún said:

"The EU Commission is expected to reprimand both Italy and the Netherlands for exceeding the 3% of gross domestic product deficit limit imposed by the EU. I am concerned that France and Germany have repeatedly been in breach of this limit in recent years, and have never been reprimanded.

"The difference for France and Germany is that they were able to persuade other finance ministers to suspend these procedures in November 2003. This is a worrying development, as the most influential states of the EU can flout the rules when it suits them, with little comeback from the EU Commission.

"I believe that the smaller states within the EU should be treated in the same manner as the power elites of Britain, France and Germany. We have consistently reiterated our belief that the EU has become a two-tier institution.

"Sinn Féin is calling for a renegotiation of the Stability and Growth Pact, so that member states may deal effectively with the specific problems facing their own economies." ENDS

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