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Sinn Féin reject rising tide economic analysis as flawed

6 September, 2006


Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP has said that arguments that a rising economic tide raises all boats are false.

Speaking after the vote on the Proinsias De Rossa and José Albino Silva Peneda Report on the future of the European Social Model in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today Ms McDonald said:

"Platitudes at an EU level about our social model are not enough. We need to ensure that a vibrant European Social Model shapes our vision for the future.

"The arguments that a rising economic tide raises all boats are false. The record of social disadvantage and marginalisation speaks for itself, not least here in Ireland where the gap between the rich and poor is increasing. Across the EU an estimated 68 million people are living in poverty and approximately 3 million people are homeless. 18 million unemployed and 14 million working poor in the EU is an indictment of the European Union's political priorities and objectives.

"If we are serious about strengthening the social Europe then we need to ask fundamental questions about EU macroeconomic policy and in particular the liberalisation and privatisation agendas and the retreat from the welfare state.

"The implementation of the Lisbon strategy does not give cause for hope, because it undermines and sidelines the social agenda.

"While this report does not address itself to any of these fundamentals, it must provide a springboard for a deeper discussion and analysis of social policy and the future direction of the EU.

"We must acknowledge that the gulf between EU and its' citizens is ever widening. The EU must recognise that many many people want a Europe based on social justice and that we must pay this demand more than lip service." ENDS

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