Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Secret EU meetings further reinforce notion of EU as an

4 April, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has called today for and end to the secrecy surrounding the Council of Ministers meetings.

Ms de Brún made her comments as the European Parliament debated a report by David Hammerstein Mintz MEP "concerning the openness of the meetings of the Council when acting in its legislative capacity". The report opposes the continuing practice of the European Council of Ministers meeting in secret.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin has long made the point that the European Union and its institutions not only lack democratic accountability but just as importantly are fundamentally out of touch with the people of Europe. Consistently, EU wide opinion polls show that people are not aware of the many decisions being taken in their name until they become law.

"The European Council has consistently refused requests to hold its legislative business in public. Such an approach further serves to reinforce the view that the EU lacks both transparency and accountability.

"The secrecy surrounding the European Council's business is all the more worrying since the Council is the body which represents national governments when ratifying EU law. Sinn Féin is calling for an end to this lack of transparency. Many people regard the EU as a self serving old boys club, and this image of secrecy and elitism will not change until the EU radically overhauls the manner in which it conducts its business. In the meantime, the European Union will continue to be seen as an elitist preserve that excludes ordinary people from the debate about the direction of the EU." ENDS

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