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Dutch Presidency must pursue a social Europe based on equality

1 July, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP, Mary Lou McDonald has today urged the Dutch Presidency "to pursue a social Europe based upon equality during its term in office". Ms McDonald made her comments today, as the Dutch take over the EU Presidency for the next six months from Ireland.

Speaking today, Ms McDonald said:

"The Dutch Presidency must now use its considerable influence to protect the smaller EU states. For too long the EU has chosen a path concerned with appeasing the whims of big business and the larger, militarily superior states. Sinn Féin believes that a change of political direction is required to reverse the democratic deficit, which now exists.

"It would be wrong for me not to acknowledge the achievement made by the Irish Presidency in securing a deal on the EU Constitution. Had the Taoiseach invested as much effort in protecting Irish sovereignty, neutrality and public services as he did in negotiating an EU Constitution, then we might actually see the alternative Europe which Sinn Féin wants to build.

"In saying that however, Sinn Féin opposes the draft Constitution, which further erodes sovereignty from national governments and gives the EU status as a single legal entity. The Irish Presidency had a golden opportunity to map out the alternative European Union - and it has failed.

"Are the Dutch Presidency up to the challenge of pursuing a social Europe built upon equality? If they are, Sinn Féin MEPs are only too willing to assist them in their efforts." ENDS

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