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Sinn Féin expresses deep concern over incoming EU Commission

26 October, 2004

Speaking in advance of this Wednesday's vote on the incoming European Commission, Sinn Fein MEP Mary Lou McDonald has called on Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to seriously reflect on the make up of the Commission and its implications for the future policy direction of the European Union.

Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin went to the Irish electorate in this year's European elections with a clear and radical manifesto. We set out our stall for an alternative vision of Europe based on principles of equality, justice, and human rights. We made a clear commitment to building an Ireland of equals in a Europe of equals. We also made clear our opposition to the continued erosion of public services and social welfare provision Europe wide and the role which the EU is playing in this regard.

"We are deeply concerned with the political and policy complexion of the incoming Commission. During the recent hearings with MEPs, many of the proposed Commissioners made clear their commitment to social and economic policies which will actively undermine equality, justice and social solidarity. There are also a number of proposed Commissioners who have serious questions to answer with respect to their conduct when Ministers in their national governments.

'We are calling on Jose Manuel Barroso to reflect on the composition of his proposed Commission and to consider ways to make its membership more reflective of the need to promote social and economic justice and social and cultural equality, both within the EU and globally.

"Sinn Féin believes another Europe is possible, where the rights of nations and peoples are respected and promoted, where quality health care and education are available to all, where civil liberties are protected and where the EU play‚s a positive and progressive role in tackling developing world debt and promoting conflict resolution.

"As it stands the Commission is not placed to achieve any of these things, as its priorities and stated policy preferences run in a contrary direction. This would make it very difficult for Sinn Féin MEPs to vote in favour of the Commission later this week."ENDS

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