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Macron is sleepwalking towards widening democratic deficit – Carthy

17 April, 2018 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has commented on the speech by French President Emmanuel Macron on ‘the future of Europe’ to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday. Carthy joined other MEPs from the European United Left (GUE/NGL) group in protesting against the US, British and French airstrikes against Syria as Macron addressed the plenary.

Carthy said:  “It’s very difficult to swallow President Macron’s claim to be a progressive leader when his speech has taken place against a backdrop of France’s illegal bombardment of Syria in recent days, and a wave of industrial protest by French workers against his harsh privatisation agenda.

“President Macron told us that he does not want to be part of a generation of ‘sleepwalkers’ entering an illiberal future. But sleepwalking is exactly what he is doing when it comes to the future of the EU.

“Despite decades of evidence that the structure of the Economic and Monetary Union has benefited only the core exporting member states, Germany in particular, the answer appears to be 'more of the same'.

"The longstanding French agenda being promoted by President Macron through his proposals for a European Monetary Fund and a larger EU budget is intended to create new adjustment mechanisms to increase economic and political convergence across the EU.

“But Macron ignores the fact that the creation of such adjustment mechanisms in the Eurozone is impossible in the short-to-medium term without Treaty change – and more importantly, that this is completely undesirable from a progressive standpoint because increased economic, fiscal and political integration require unacceptable trade-offs in the ability of people to participate in the decision-making process democratically at the local and national level.

“At the same time he is fulfilling his own promise to the EU elites of promoting their vision of the ultimate ‘adjustment mechanism’ in a monetary union – so-called wage flexibility – by trying to dismantle the strong labour protections and public services in France. This agenda is being fiercely resisted by working people in France, with a wave of rolling strikes against privatisation taking place this week.

“Macron promises more democracy in Europe but his actions and policies can only lead to a widening of the already very troubling democratic deficit in the EU.

"Unfortunately it is Macron's Europe of less accountability and less scope for national democracy that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are working towards.  We need, more than ever, an Irish government that defends the principles of peace and of equality among member states of the EU.  Sinn Féin will continue to aspire to an EU for the people rather than for the elites as envisaged by Macron.”

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