30 April 2009 Edition
Economic crisis must force a rethink of EU strategy - de Brún
Addressing community and voluntary activists on Tuesday, de Brún also reiterated Sinn Féin’s support for that sector.
“In my time as an MEP I have sought through a programme of direct engagement with local businesses, chambers of commerce, community organisations, NGOs, environmental groups, trade unionists and rural communities to bring the workings of Europe to local people,” she commented.
De Brún was speaking at a European Election ‘Meet the Candidates’ event facilitated by NICVA in Belfast.
“I have also met with many delegations from across this sector in Brussels and hosted visits by others and will continue to help local people bring their issues directly to EU decision makers.
“At EU level, Sinn Féin has campaigned for improved rights for those with disabilities and opposed legislation that would have damaged public services and workerss’ rights. We will keep up the pressure to secure comprehensive EU legislation to protect rights, including in employment and access to goods and services, and the right of older people to insurance and adequate health services. We will continue to oppose moves to subject health services to the internal market.
“We have also campaigned for gender equality and for the rights of lesbian and gay people.”
But it is the economic crisis which Bairbre de Brún insists must now force a rethink of EU strategy “in order to place the interests of people at the heart of its decision-making, instead of just the interests of big business”.
She continued: “We also believe that as a major player on the world stage the EU must lead by example and play a role in developing a global social and trade justice agenda, eliminating developing world debt and protecting human rights.
“Some 78 million people across the EU are already at risk of poverty, and Sinn Féin endorses the demand to make social cohesion and the fight against poverty and inequality an EU priority.
“We voted to make 2010 EU Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion and we will work to ensure that this is the springboard for further action beyond 2010.
“We will also work to ensure that the European economic recovery plan contributes to the priority of tackling poverty and inequality and will continue to promote the development of good quality and accessible employment and access to quality services.”