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EU Parliament budget will hit disadvantaged regions and communities hardest - de Brún

17 May, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today called upon the European Parliament to re-direct its budget priorities after a majority of MEPs agreed to slash the structural funds budget 2007-2013.

Ms de Brún made her comments after she addressed the European Parliament session on the EU's budget between 2007 and 2013.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"The European Parliament has today approved its Financial Perspectives (budget) for the next seven years. I want to express my disappointment at the unsatisfactory budget which this parliament has ratified.

"I am particularly disappointed that the EU has once again prioritised headline economic growth at the expense of social and environmental concerns. This narrow focus coupled with scarcer resources will ultimately affect those most in need in a disproportionate manner. There is a danger that the EU guidelines to member states will also underestimate the importance of social and environmental aspects of the national programmes for spending EU money in the time ahead.

"The practical effects of such an ineffective and unbalanced programme for community spending in Ireland, north and south between 2007 and 2013 could see some of the most disadvantaged regions across the EU, and indeed in Ireland‚s border regions and the North West, hit hardest.

"I have argued at home and in the European Parliament for greater involvement by civil society in the design and implementation of EU programmes. This will be all the more important as a result of today's budget decision.

"Sinn Féin believes that continued EU structural funding can further develop the competitiveness of the Irish economy as well as vital all-island synergies. In conjunction with any future peace dividend, it can aid balanced economic development and the transition to a more peaceful society and a more stable and sustainable economy. That is why today‚s announcement in the European Parliament is so disappointing." ENDS

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