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Martina Anderson MEP welcomes rejection of EU austerity Budget

13 March, 2013 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Speaking from Strasbourg this afternoon following the vote on the EU Budget Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson said:

“The EU Budget must be imaginative, forward looking and with a focus on growth through job creation. We don’t need a Budget that imposes a further seven years of austerity on the people of Europe. I welcome the fact that the proposals put forward by the European Council on the Multi- Annual Financial Framework (MFF)- have been overwhelmingly rejected by the Parliament.

“The Council proposals would have allowed right wing governments such as those in Dublin and London to blame their ideologically driven austerity policies on the reduction in the EU Budget. The damage already done to the living standards of the people of Ireland north and south would have been exacerbated. Along with my colleague MEP’s of the GUE/NGL and other more progressively minded MEPs I vigorously opposed these proposals, in line with the anti-austerity policy of Sinn Féin.

“If the budget had passed there would have been severe cuts in the north to structural funds at a rate of 43% - representing over €200 million. There would have been a 20% cut in CAP Funding, representing over €100 million and Peace 4 funding would be greatly reduced from previous levels.

“The Irish Farmers Association in the south has joined its counterparts in the north in expressing alarm at the effect on agriculture that the proposed measures if introduced in CAP Reform would have on the sector.

“This proposed EU budget was not fit for purpose - it would make the situation worse and hit rural and urban community groups, women and the unemployed most harshly, through reduced funding streams.

“The MFF now needs to be renegotiated and resourced to reflect the needs of the people across Ireland and Europe. As a Sinn Féin MEP, the GUE/NGL Group and other progressive groups are pushing for a fully-fledged re-negotiation of the inter-institutional agreement to ensure that we get a forward-looking, flexible and transparent EU budget that can deliver growth and jobs.

“If the Council refuses to renegotiate the MFF then the current budgetary arrangements roll over with its provisions extended to allow for annual budgets until such time as a new MFF is adopted. While annual budgets are not as ideal as a seven year planned budget, it would be preferable to a seven year austerity budget. It is better that we get it right and that it is stimulatory rather than continue on the economically destructive road of cuts, unemployment and enforced poverty for our people. I welcome rejection of these proposals - austerity isn’t working.”

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