[Sinn Fein]

9 May 2001

Sinn Fein President addresses party's No campaign launch - Treaty of Nice will create an EU superstate with its own Army

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking at the launch of the party's campaign calling for a NO vote in the Treaty of Nice said ``Sinn Fein are calling for a NO vote  because we believe that this Treaty paves the way for the creation of a new superpower, an EU Superstate with its own army dominated by the largest countries.''   Mr. Adams said:

``For Sinn Fein the Treaty of Nice is about two main issues - political and economic sovereignty and Ireland's status as a neutral country.

``Ireland's membership of the EU has produced positive benefits in a number of areas such as social legislation. However we have also seen the demise of our agriculture industry, the devastation of fisheries and the continued erosion of political and economic power.  More and more, control of decisions which affect people's lives are being ceded to the EU Commission and EU Council of Ministers with less and less influence retained by the Irish people themselves.  This process will increase with the Treaty of Nice.

``The government and other establishment parties say that the Treaty of Nice is about enlargement, about letting other states share in the positive benefits of EU membership.  This is not the case.  Changes in Nice will happen regardless of whether any new state joins.

``The Treaty of Nice is all about the creation of an EU superstate, with its own army.   It is about pushing ahead with a two tier EU.  Under the euphemsim of `Enhanced Co-Operation' a core group of states will be able to move ahead of the rest, using the EU institutions to further their common interests, regardless of how it impacts on other member states. This is a fundamental shift away from the idea of the EU as a partnership of equals with no state having less power or influence because of its size, and all proceeding together on the basis of agreement.  Such a development is clearly not in Ireland's best interests.

It is also clear that the Treaty of Nice will further erode Irish neutrality and independent foreign policy despite government assurances stating otherwise. We have already had the government's U-turn on NATO's Partnership for Peace which was followed by its commitment of troops to the Rapid Reaction Force.  While the government has said that this does not constitute the core of an EU Army Romano Prodi has said that if we do not want to call it a European army we don't have to ? we can call it Margaret or Mary Anne but that it is the first such joint effort, as distinct from bi-lateral effort, at European level.  The implications of this for Irish neutrality are clear.  Sinn Fein believe that rather than eroding Irish neutrality it should be incorporated into the constitution.

``Over the next four week we will be campaigning vigorously to see this Treaty defeated and I believe that there are many people who share our concerns and who will come out and vote NO.  These voices are not anti-European but they are opposed to the creation of an EU superstate.  What we want is a Europe of equals with people at its centre and that is what we are campaigning for.''

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