EU must make fundamental change - Ní Riada
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the EU needs to begin fundamental change if people are to have any faith in it.
The Ireland South MEP made the comments today as she addressed the EU parliament on the future of the European Union.
"We are all aware that we live in a time of great flux and volatility," she said.
"Given the fallout from Brexit and the rise of extremism feeding into the instability we are experiencing, is this budgetary capacity pushing further austerity on the Eurozone the answer?
"No, we need democratic and transparent accountability over the euro.
"Further erosion of the national sovereignty of member states is not the answer. We cannot move towards a more neo-liberal centralised Europe at the expense of ordinary people, who cannot even put food on the table or maintain a roof over their heads.
"This is very much the case in Ireland, despite whatever spin doctored reports say about a 'recovery'.
"We are in the midst of a housing and healthcare crisis. Our farming and fishing industries are under ever increasing pressure. The banks that we bailed out are not giving SMEs reasonable access to finances. The vast majority of Irish people do not know what the government are talking about when they harp on about this much vaunted 'recovery'.
"The EU's economic governance framework acts like a straitjacket. The Fiscal Compact is directly blocking countries like my own from investing in vital infrastructure. Only capital investment free from the conditions of austerity can help solve the urgent problems we have in health, housing and homelessness.
"For there to be any meaningful change, the EU, for a start, needs to step up and prioritise public investment in infrastructure, building the real economy. Our people have had enough."