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Gerry Adams welcomes new accession states to the EU

1 May, 2004


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking in Belfast this morning extended a warm welcome to the ten accession states which become part of the European Union today. Mr Adams said "The EU is a rich and colourful tapestry of cultures and the new states will add to this. He said 'It is important that the good will which exists today continues into the future and these states have the same opportunities within the EU as current states and are not treated as second class states in Europe. The Irish government should recognise this in the upcoming Constitution talks and bring the process back to a Europe of equals and away from an EU superstate with its own army."

Mr Adams said:

"I want to extend a warm welcome to the ten accession states joining the EU today. They have much to offer the EU - a union which is already a rich and colourful tapestry of cultures. It is important that the good will which exists today continues into the future and these states have the same opportunities within the EU as the current states.

"When Ireland joined the EEC in 1973, it was considered a 'poor' country, one that might detract from the successful economic strides that the existing countries were making. But we joined the union with an equal voice at the table. The same is not true today. They are joining a two tier Europe. Whether it is in relation to unequal access to the CAP or how decisions are made, the accession states are not joining a Europe of equals. In the 26 Counties for example - while it is welcome that their citizens can come here to work freely - if they fall between jobs, the government has put a block on them claiming social welfare benefits. What sort of message does that send out?

"The current Draft EU Constitution reflects much of what is wrong with the European Union. Today, the EU represents and facilitates the agendas of big business and the powerful member states, to the detriment of the smaller nations, and particularly militarily neutral states. The Draft Constitution in its current form, will move us even closer towards an EU superstate with its own army.

"The current direction of the EU is not inevitable. It can and should be changed.Sinn Féin calls upon the Irish Presidency to use its influence to support an EU which protects its citizens and endorse a Constitution which places the sovereignty of member states at its core.

"I would like to say to the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia, from myself, and the Sinn Féin party and its supporters, Fáilte romhaibh go léir." ENDS

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