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Sinn Féin will oppose self-centred and self-obsessed EU

1 October, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has said that "Sinn Féin is totally opposed to a self centred and insular European Union".

Ms McDonald made her comments before an informal meeting of interior ministers in the Netherlands today, where a controversial plan to create asylum camps in North Africa is expected to be tabled.

Speaking this morning Ms McDonald said:

"I await the outcome of today's meeting in the Netherlands with both interest and concern. The plans to create detention centres in North Africa to process asylum claims are not new. Indeed the idea was originally mooted by Britain in 2003. However, at today's meeting, German interior minister Otto Schily is expected to formally present the proposals to other member states.

"A North African clearing house for those seeking asylum is unacceptable. For a number of years we have witnessed the emergence of a self-centred and self-obsessed European Union. Moreover, a number of human rights groups have expressed concern that some of the countries cited as potential locations for these detention centre, have questionable human rights records.

"Let me make it crystal clear, Sinn Féin is totally opposed to the ŒFortress Europe‚ school of thought that is now not only guiding EU migration policy but is also becoming progressively institutionalised. This must be challenged by all of us who care about human rights and expect the highest standards of human rights compliance by the EU.

"The 'out of sight' out of mind‚ approach to the issue of asylum camps which is prevalent, does nothing to instil confidence in those who are concerned about the current direction of the European Union. Sinn Féin calls for these proposals to be defeated and replaced with Common Migration and Asylum policies that are fully compliant with human rights instruments, that bring rights protections up to the highest standard, and that make the EU more open, inclusive and anti-racist." ENDS

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