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Sinn Féin vision for social and economic justice in Europe

27 October, 2005

Speaking at the start of Tony Blair's informal EU summit in Hampton Court today, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has called for 'an end to the double speak on the issue of a social Europe and for more action on tackling the core social and economic problems which affect Europe's member states'.

Ms de Brún said

'During this week's sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg MEPs listened to British Prime Minister Tony Blair outlining his vision for the future of European economic policy. His speech on the one hand stressed the importance of the European social model and on the other hand prioritised economic policies which would do little to resolve the problems of unemployment, poverty, social exclusion and unsustainable development.'

'During the debate which followed his speech many MEPs argued the need for a new economic policy based on social and economic justice, environmental protection, respect for human rights and sustainable development.

'We are now half-way thought the 10-year 'Lisbon Agenda', which promised to 'make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty' by 2010. This has not happened and recent signals from the European Council seem to undermine this goal. If his speech in Strasbourg this week is anything to go by, Tony Blair's informal summit on the social model will do little to redress this imbalance.

'In Sinn Féin's view it is vital that the informal summit commits the EU to the basic principles of the European Social Model, ie solidarity, social rights, a strong social protection system and re-distribution of wealth. With more than 20 million people currently unemployed across the Union and 98 million people living at risk of poverty, the urgency of this task cannot be underestimated.

'Our party is committed to building and Ireland of Equals in a Europe of equals. If we are to eradicate the scourge of poverty in Europe, and allow people the resources and access to services needed to live life in dignity, we need to strengthen the 'social Europe', not undermine it'. ENDS

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