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EU Commission light on clarity and high on rhetoric regarding EU Constitution

8 June, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said that the European Commission is 'still in denial regarding the defeat of the EU Constitution in France and the Netherlands'.

Ms de Brún made her comments after European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Luxembourg's Deputy Foreign Minister Nicolas SCHMIT addressed the European Parliament on preparations for the next European Council, including the future of the Union after the referendums on the European Constitution. Today marked a formal response by the European Commission and the Council to the No votes in both member states in recent weeks.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"Mr Barosso's address to the European Parliament today was light on clarity and high on rhetoric, regarding the direction the EU must take in light of two referendum rejections. In his address he commented that there is no magic solution to the complex issues facing the European Union at present and that a new consensus and vision was now required for Europe.

"It is clear that the Dutch and French votes must be accepted as the democratic will of the people. It seems that large sections of people within the EU, including the European Commission are still in denial about recent referendum results. Reaction has ranged from blaming the people to blaming national governments for their verdicts, without stopping to think that the institutions have become increasingly isolated from the citizens and vice versa for a number of years.

"If the European Commission is serious about accepting the need for a real, honest and open debate in member states then that is to be welcomed. However, if Mr Barrosso is talking exclusively about consensus amongst heads of state or national governments then it is doomed to failure. The people must play the predominant role in shaping the EU's future.

"Sinn Féin has long held the view that a new vision and consensus is required. We want to help create an alternative Europe which promotes equality, social protections and global justice. The current Europe is taking us down a different path, to one which promotes increased militarism, the shifting of power further from national institutions and economic growth at the expense of environmental and social progress". ENDS

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