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Children's rights must be guaranteed if Romania to join EU - Mary Lou McDonald

16 December, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has this morning said that her party would welcome Romanian entry into the European Union provided they fulfilled the 'Copenhagen Criteria' on democracy and respect for human rights. Ms McDonald welcomed the fact that Romania had introduced national child protection standards designed to promote the rights of the child.

Ms McDonald was welcoming a report on Romania's progression towards accession presented to the European Parliament by the Committee on Foreign Affairs Rapporteur Pierre Moscovici.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin would welcome the time when Romania can enter the European Union as full participating member state. Whilst Romania still has a distance to travel in terms of their treatment of minority communities and social reforms, I welcome moves towards strengthening the rights of children and democratic principles.

"One of the proposed amendments for inclusion in the report urges Romania to continue the reform of the social security and welfare system, particularly with regard to improving health services including a comprehensive reform of mental health care and ensuring social inclusion of people with disabilities. In particular, there must be a focus on the rights of children in Romania. Many children within orphanages in the country continue to languish in institutions without proper supervision or medical care.

"This report urges Romania to press swiftly ahead with reform in all spheres, and I welcome efforts to ensure that Romania complies with international norms concerning democracy, human rights and protections for its most vulnerable citizens." ENDS

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