Anderson critical of Unionist Parties stance on EU Budget cuts
Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson has criticised fellow MEP’s Dianne Dodds and Jim Nicholson on their support of EU Budget cuts.
Martina Anderson said:
“I was disappointed but not surprised considering the support shown by the two Unionist Parties for the Westminster Tories austerity policies that their MEP’s also supported the same approach in Europe.
“With the support of Dianne Dodds and Jim Nicholson the EU Budget was cut for the first time in 56 years. The Commission’s proposed budget was €1.03trillion over seven years and identified the need to invest in jobs and growth. (This seven year Budget proposal is less than the yearly deficit incurred by the US administration.) The current level of spending is about €993.6 billion over 7 yrs.
“The Commission proposal would have equated to EU contributions of €295 per person per year or 60c per day - not even enough to buy a cup of coffee. The Council’s rejection of the Commission proposals and its recent headline figures of - €960 billion, (over seven years) represents a cut of almost €34billion compared to today’s figures
“The British government in line with its Westminster policies was one of the main instigators of the move towards budget cuts. And of course the DUP, in Westminster, embraced and supported the calls for a cut to the EU Budget and although they no longer have any MP’s the UUP fought the last Assembly election on the Tory manifesto. “This is a budget which will do nothing to boost investment in jobs and growth and will leave member states starved of strategic investment in key areas.
“While last week Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson were in Brussels meeting with Commissioner Maire Geogehegan-Quinn and highlighting the importance of R&D draw down for the North and seeking to maximize advantages in Europe, the DUP/UUP supports the British government's demand to cut the EU Budget.
“We still have to analyse the detail of the budget but a first look seems to indicate the missed opportunity to refocus it strategically in order to promote growth and jobs. On initial reading it appears that a wide range of programmes such as agriculture, cohesion and structural funds as well as Peace funding will be affected - a further example of the British government's disregard for needs of the people of the North of Ireland and being willingly supported by the DUP and UUP.
“While it is envisioned that there will be a Peace IV, the amount will be reduced from €225 million to €150 million. This will undermine a lot of the good work which is being done with PEACE funding. There was no support forthcoming from the British government - and by extention the Unionist MEPs - for this Peace funding which was achieved through the efforts of Martin McGuinness, Peter Robinson and the Irish government." ENDS