2nd May 2002
McLaughlin challenges other parties to publicly state that they will respect and implement Nice Result
Speaking at the party's policy launch on the EU and Irish Neutrality, the Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin said that `it is a disgrace that the current Fianna Fail/PD government has continued with the process of ratification of the Nice Treaty in direct defiance of the expressed wishes of the Irish people.' He challenged the other parties to publicly state that they will respect the Nice result if elected into the next government. Mr McLaughlin said:
`` Sinn Fein has a vision of a Europe of Equals - A Europe which operates as a partnership of Equals proceeding on the basis of agreement among partners. Many of the concerns Sinn Fein has regarding the current state and direction of the EU are shared by ordinary people the length and breath of this country. In a wider context, this is also evident in the debate on the future of Europe taking place within the EU Convention at this time. This is an important debate for Irish people and also for people throughout Europe. Sinn Fein believes that our representation should be changed to ensure that the concerns of those who rejected the Nice Treaty are reflecdted. It is only right that we have a critical engagement with our partners in Europe and with the EU itself.
`` Since the formation of the European Monetary System in 1979 and the Single European Act in 1987, the clear direction of EU development has been towards the creation of a two-tier European State. The lack of transparency or democratic accountability in the EU is of huge concern in Europe itself. So also in Ireland. An increasing amount of democratic control has already been removed from the people of this country. The Treaty of Nice was an attempt to accelerate this process.
``It is a disgrace that the current Fianna Fail/PD government has continued with the process of ratification in direct defiance of the expressed wishes of the Irish people. The Irish people rejected the Nice Treaty. Today I want to challenge the other parties to state publicly that they will respect and implement the wishes of the Irish people in the new Dáil.
`` Sinn Fein believes that the next government must as a matter of urgency address the democratic deficit which currently blights the EU. And part of this is ensuring that Ireland retains its permanent Commissioner and retains the veto of individual states.
`` We welcome moves to enlarge the EU if that is the expressed wish of those citizens of the proposed new state, but applicant states must be able to join the EU on the same terms as we joined. Otherwise the current unacceptable two-tier Europe will develop into a three or four tier structure with the new member states even more disadvantaged than those of us currently outside the big two or three.
`` The recent Nice Treaty result showed clearly that people do have real concerns about the future direction of Europe. They do want a say. They want to live in an accountable and partnership based Europe. Sinn Fein shares that vision.''
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