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68 million people in poverty - Europe Day should be about addressing these realities

10 May, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said that 'Europe Day' should be about addressing Europe's inequalities.

Ms de Brún made her comments as the Dail devoted its business to the discussion of European matters to coincide with 'Europe Day'. Ms de Brún is also due to chair a conference session addressing homelessness in the European Parliament tomorrow (Thursday 11th May).

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Europe Day should be about refocusing and redoubling our efforts to deal with some of the most crucial issues facing the European Union today. One such issue is regarding poverty levels across the EU. It has been estimated that more than 68 million people are living in poverty within the European Union and approximately 3 million people are homeless.

"Of course, these figures do not accurately reflect the individual and collective problems associated with living in poverty. Such statistics, while shocking in themselves do not fully reflect the situation which many people find themselves in, or take into account the millions more people who are living in overcrowded conditions or poor quality accommodation.

"Whilst many people continue to live in poverty in the EU - one of the world's wealthiest regions, Europe's elites continue to drive an agenda which prioritises military spending at the relative expense of many social considerations.

"We should be using 'Europe Day' to rededicate ourselves to building a Europe with different political priorities, and a Europe which seeks to protect the most vulnerable citizens." ENDS

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