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Time is right for overhaul of Lisbon Strategy - Mary Lou McDonald

2 February, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today called for a "complete overhaul of the Lisbon Agenda to one which prioritises its social aspects".

Ms McDonald made her comments after former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok admitted that the central goals of the Lisbon Agenda were a "bridge too far". The Lisbon Strategy aimed to establish the EU as the world's most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010.

Mr Wim Kok headed up a review of the Lisbon Agenda and presented a report of the Lisbon strategy to the European Commission in late 2004.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"Mr Wim Kok's comments that the central goals of the Lisbon Agenda were a "bridge too far" highlight the failure of the strategy to date. The agenda has three main planks: economic, environmental and social development.

"Sinn Féin is calling for a complete overhaul of the strategy - it has clearly failed and I believe that the time is right for a refocusing on the social aspects of the Lisbon Agenda. The social inclusion aspects have been undermined and largely ignored in favour of a privatisation agenda and an approach that sees competitiveness only being achieved at the expense of workers' rights.

"In a European Union where 68 million people live in systematic poverty, people are demanding a shift in emphasis to one which will impact positively on citizen's lives. Sinn Féin is in support of the Social Platform Tests for the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union. We are calling upon Luxembourg to lead the way in overhauling the strategy to reverse the trend toward increasing privatisation and move to secure the future of quality public services, particularly in relation to health and education services." ENDS

Note to editors: The Social Platform tests for the Luxembourg Presidency are produced by pan European platform of social NGOs. The tests can be found at

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