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European Commission survey clearest signal yet of EU privatisation agenda - Mary Lou McDonald

9 February, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has this morning said that the European Union is preparing the ground for the opening up of the services market. Ms McDonald said that this was "palatable Euro-speak for the privatisation of our public services".

Ms McDonald made her comments after the European Commission conducted and published a report which suggested that the opening up of the services market could bring significant economic growth to the EU.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"This study confirms the worst fears of those who oppose the European Council and Commission's thirst for the privatisation agenda in member states. Sinn Féin has warned time and again that the European Union is intent on turning public services into private enterprises.

"Sinn Féin believes that national governments have a duty to provide quality public services such as water, waste, waste collection, health or education, not private companies whose sole objective is to maximise profits, at the expense of workers rights if necessary.

"The current draft EU Constitution is explicit in its desire for privatisation. It obliges the Member States to ensure the free movement of services thus limiting the ability of member states to provide universal free service provision through the welfare state or health and education, by restricting the involvement of the public sector in such provision.

"Along with my colleague Bairbre de Brún, Sinn Féin will fight tooth and nail both inside the European Parliament and in wider society to protect public services. We are demanding real and sustainable investment in public services, not their eradication." ENDS

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