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Mandelson must promote a socially conscious EU

4 October, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has said that Peter Mandelson "must act to promote a socially conscious EU which protects the people against business excesses".

Ms de Brún made her comments as the new EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson faces a hearing of MEPs on his portfolio and future plans, in the European Parliament today.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Today's Commissioner hearing will see Mr Mandelson questioned by MEPs on the Trade Portfolio and his intentions over the next number of years. The Trade portfolio is one of the most important and powerful of all the Commission posts. Therefore it is important that MEPs have been given the opportunity to question Mr Mandelson on his future intentions.

"Sinn Féin calls upon Mr Mandelson to act to promote a socially conscious EU which seeks to protect the people against the excesses of big business. In saying this, we are not entirely convinced that Mr Mandelson can live up to the role.

"The portfolio of trade requires a commitment to help reduce levels of poverty throughout the world, particularly within developing countries by promoting fair trade. Current trade policies are biased against the poor.

"Sinn Féin is calling upon Mr Mandelson to work towards democratising the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and to support trade policies which respect human rights and the environment and hold both individual states and businesses accountable for their actions.

"Sinn Féin MEPs will be watching Mr Mandelson with great interest to see if he can promote a socially inclusive EU. However, it is difficult to get excited about the appointment of Mr Mandelson given his record as the British Secretary of State in Ireland. He collapsed the political institutions, introduced suspension legislation and emascalated the Patten proposals all at the behest of negative political unionism. Political parties in Ireland along with the two governments are still trying to undue much of the damage done by Mr Mandelson during his time in the north of Ireland." ENDS

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