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McDonald urges governments to take their heads out of the sand

13 February, 2007

In advance of the European Parliament debate on the Spring Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of EU member states Mary Lou McDonald MEP urged them to "take their heads out of the sand, stop doing the bidding of big business and respond to people's hopes and aspirations".

Ms McDonald said:

"The Lisbon Strategy was supposed to 'make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty' by 2010. But the number of people living in poverty is growing. 72 million people in the EU are at risk of poverty. This is not acceptable.

"In Ireland, the rich are benefiting from the Lisbon Strategy, but ordinary people are suffering. Those lucky enough to have work are pushed into low-paid jobs, with poor conditions and little job security. Income inequalities continue to grow.

"EU policies need to completely change if we are to really address the issues of sustainable economic growth and good quality jobs, and to tackle income inequality.

"We need a new set of social, economic and environmental priorities to encourage investment in the social economy; to improve the quality and accessibility of public services; and to eradicate poverty and social exclusion.

"It is time for EU Presidents and Prime Ministers, including the Taoiseach, to take their collective heads out of the sand, stop doing the bidding of big business, and respond to people's hopes and aspirations." ENDS

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