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EU Constitution debate needs to be real not a PR exercise - Mary Lou McDonald

22 June, 2006


MEP for Dublin and Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald has today attended the National Forum on Europe debate in Dublin Castle entitled "Ireland and the European Union: Looking to the Future".

Ms McDonald addressed the debate around the EU Constitution and said that the EUs ŒPeriod of Reflection‚ should provide an "opportunity for the European Union to re-evaluate and readjust its political priorities to focus on social and environmental issues".

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"Rejection of the EU Draft Constitution in both the Netherlands and France provided a clear indication of the depth of feeling against the further consolidation of power and influence at the centre of the EU.

"People want to see a prosperous Europe, they also want to see an EU which protects the most vulnerable ˆ but a Constitution is not the best way to achieve this. This debate which is under way is about the future. It is a debate between those who want to see more powers taken away from national parliaments and given to unaccountable officials and those who want an EU where all Members States are treated equally and co-operate in the interests of all.

"Sinn Féin is calling for a serious debate on the future priorities and directions of the EU - not on a Constitution which has been rejected by a significant number of people and member states. However this debate needs to be real and it needs to start now. It should not be a charm offensive or PR exercise, because our future is much too important with that.

"The European elites need to be aware that many people across the EU are alarmed by its continuing and relentless privatization agenda, militarization, centralization of power and the downgrading of its social and environmental commitments. In fact a European Constitution can only consolidate all of these things. Instead of demonizing those who reject the EU Constitution, the EU elites should listen more closely to the concerns of people right across Europe." ENDS

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