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Sinn Fein MEPs 'stand for change in the EU'

22 July, 2004

Sinn Fein MEPs Bairbre de Brun (Six Counties) and Mary Lou McDonald (Dublin) today said they were 'committed to helping create an EU based upon inclusiveness and equality'. Both MEPs were speaking in advance of the vote for EU Commission President today.

In a joint statement, the MEPs said:

"Sinn Fein stand for change in the European Union. We are committed to helping create an EU based upon inclusiveness and equality. As Irish Republicans, we are committed to bringing about an EU that works toward equality, the elimination of poverty, the protection of public services.

"In our first week at the European Parliament we have met with a number of people who share our vision for change in the EU. We will continue to work towards a broad alliance for an EU of equals and the advancement of the Peace Process in Ireland.

"As Sinn Fein MEPs we have committed ourselves to challenge inequalities within the EU - and this includes inequalities within the structures and institutions of the EU itself. Sinn Fein is therefore making the underrespresentation of women in EU decision-making positions an issue in relation to the incoming Commission.

"Women were drastically underrespresented in the last EU Commission as 23 out of the 30 Commissioners were men. No women were actively considered for the post of Commission President. This must change. Appointments to the incoming Commission represent an opportunity for affirmative action which must not be squandered. Sinn Fein have therefore called for the nomination of a woman candidate for the position of Commission President, and also called on the Taoiseach to nominate a woman Commissioner for Ireland.

"But bringing more women into the field is not sufficient in and of itself. We need people on the Commission who share our vision of an EU of Equals. We do not share Mr Jose Durao Barroso's vision and priorities for the EU. On this basis, we will not be supporting his nomination as EU Commission President.

"Sinn Fein believe that the EU should lead by example by promoting equality and we would look forward to supporting a more appropriate and progressive nomination for this very important position within the EU." ENDS

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