Ireland cannot support defence structure proposals - Ní Riada
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the EU Council's decision to increase security and defence funding in the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) will not help us tackle the real threats we face.
The Ireland South representative said that while she was happy to see funding for humanitarian aid go up, security and defence increases were coming at the expense of cohesion programmes and other crucial policy areas.
Ms Ní Riada, who is the GUE/NGL Coordinator on the European Parliament’s Budgets Committee, said a neutral country like Ireland simply could not support the proposals.
"The council speaks of €6bn worth of fresh money for outstanding priorities for 2017 to 2020 but they have conveniently forgotten to mention the impact which the approval of amending budgets number four and five will have.”
“This will effectively decrease by €7.4 billion the contributions of the EU member states towards the Budget 2017. Let me be clear, there is no fresh money being added here.
“This is a really bad decision and inevitably, it will lead to a bad outcome. We only have to look at the failure of the Junker Plan, which was touted as being the saviour of the EU, to realise that the Council clearly lacks any sort of vision, sense of responsibility or solidarity with the people.
“Ireland - a country committed to neutrality - cannot support the European defence structure proposal at the expense of the real needs of our people. We need flexibility but we need to be smart about where our priorities lie. We have a duty of care to our most impoverished people and we need real investment."
She added that the revised proposals were a lost opportunity for the EU to address serious issues facing not only its member states but the entire planet.
"In addition to the lack of fresh funding there are huge disappointments such as the allocation for youth employment being well below what we expected and what the International Labour Organisation (ILO) recommended.
“If the challenge is to have a budgetary framework for the European Union that responds to the needs of the people, they are going in the opposite direction.
“We need a 180-degree turn in budgetary policy that enables us, on the one hand, to address our humanitarian and social emergencies and, on the other, to change our productive model to deal with climate change. These are the real threats facing us today and they cannot be solved by throwing money at security and defence."