Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin supports calls for a positive and progressive EU Commission

18 November, 2004

Speaking in advance of today's vote on the incoming European Commission, Sinn Fein MEP Mary Lou McDonald said: "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 plays a positive and progressive role in tackling developing world debt and promoting conflict resolution. Therefore Sinn Féin supported calls for a progressive EU Commission which would impact positively on those inside and outside Europe's borders in terms of democracy and social and economic policies. She said "Jose-Manuel Barosso has failed to bring forward such a European Commission and therefore myself and my colleague Bairbre de Brún MEP will not be supporting the European Commission - designate."

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms McDonald said:

"The European Union is going through a time of immense change and in the months ahead countries across Europe will be debating and voting on key issues such as the EU Constitution. We believe that there was a real opportunity, following enlargement to come forward with an EU Commission which was open and progressive and which could impact positively on those inside and outside Europe's borders. Unfortunately this did not happen.

"Last month Sinn Féin voted against the European Commission because we were deeply concerned with the political and policy complexion of the incoming Commission. For Sinn Féin MEPs, this was never about individuals or the personal convictions held by some within the European Commission.

"Our analysis is based on the manifesto, which we presented to the Irish electorate in this year's European elections. In this manifesto we set out a clear and radical vision of a Europe based on principles of equality, justice, and human rights. 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.

"During the September hearings with MEPs, many of the proposed Commissioners outlined support for social and economic policies which will actively undermine equality, justice and social solidarity. There are also a number of proposed European Commissioners who have serious questions to answer with respect to their roles when Ministers in their own countries.

"Since September, the European Commission President designate Jose-Manuel Barosso has announced minimal and cosmetic changes to his team. On this basis, Sinn Féin MEPs cannot support the European Commission team." ENDS

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