1 August 2016 Edition
GUE/NGL – Another Europe is possible / Treo eile don Eoraip
Funded by the European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) – Aontas Clé na hEorpa/Na Glasaigh Chlé Nordacha. Crúpa Paliminta – Parlaimimt na h Eorpa
Brexit: President of European Parliament Martin Schulz shares concerns, says Martina Anderson MEP
MARTINA ANDERSON MEP has led a number of high-level engagements from across the European Union to discuss the impact of the Westminster EU referendum on Ireland and, more specifically, the North of Ireland.
“I met with representatives of the main political groupings in the parliament, including Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton from the Scottish National Party and both of the co-chairs of the Greens/European Free Alliance Political Grouping,” the Irish MEP from Derry said.
"I also met with Dunuta Hubner, who previously served as the European Commissioner for Regional Policy. As the current chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee in the Parliament, Ms Hubner led a delegation to Westminster last year, which I also attended.”
The MEP for the North of Ireland said she thinks this was the first time the case of the North was considered in the whole Brexit debate and due to her raising it at every given opportunity.
“Since then, Ms Hubner has been acutely aware of what being dragged out of the EU would mean for the North,” Martina said.
She also met with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.
“I was relieved to hear that he shares our concerns in terms of our citizens, our trade and our funding. President Schulz sees the enormous uncertainty and has vowed to keep in touch and work with us in the months ahead.
“We also discussed the impact of being dragged out of the EU by the right-wing of the British Tory Party would have on our universities, small businesses, infrastructure, agriculture and continuing efforts to build the all-Ireland economy.”
She added that they also discussed the need for reform of the EU institutions and the need to build a progressive, prosperous and social Europe, which respects sovereignty.
“I am confident the outcomes of the meetings were positive, with each representative recognising that our voices need to be heard at the negotiations table,” Martina said.
“I made it clear to them that the majority of people in the North of Ireland voted to remain in the EU and that vote must be respected.”
• Matt Carthy MEP addresses regional journalists in Strasbourg
Fisheries – Liadh Ní Riada attends high-level meetings in Norway
IRELAND SOUTH MEP Liadh Ní Riada visited Norway as part of a five-member delegation of the Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament.
“We held a series of important and productive meetings over the course of the visit in order to share best practise and to ensure we are maximising the potential of the fishing industry and also to discuss the Agreement on fisheries between the European Economic Community and Norway,” Liadh said back in Brussels.
Norway is the world’s leading producer of Atlantic salmon and the second-largest seafood exporter in the world. It has developed to become an industry of major importance internationally due to the fact that Norwegian authorities have been proactive and creative in achieving the potential of its fisheries sector.
“In Ireland, it’s the opposite,” Liadh said, “as our potential has been consistently squandered.”
The Fisheries Committee group met with Jens Christian Holm, the Acting Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries. The Directorate is an advisory and executive agency for the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Fisheries for the management of the fishing and aquaculture industries and it monitors compliance with legislation and regulations.
They also met with Sissel Rogne, Managing Director of the Institute of Marine Research, an advisory organisation for the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Fisheries, with key remits to investigate and monitor fish stocks and marine mammals, the marine and coastal environments and to oversee aquaculture and marine ranching.
“Their research covers areas like the marine ecosystem, aquaculture and the effects of climate fluctuations and human impacts,” Liadh said.
“The Institute maintains close contact with marine researchers in other countries, including Ireland.
“A number of factors are causing issues for the fishing industry in Ireland at the minute and therefore it is important that meetings like these are carried out and relationships are maintained.”
• Irish GUE/NGL MEPs meet with Rebecca Harms, German politician and MEP for The Greens – European Free Alliance parliamentary group
Chilcot Report highlights ‘unjustified use’ of Shannon Airport for Iraq War
MEP LYNN BOYLAN has said the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry Report further highlight the immoral and unjustified use of Shannon Airport for the Iraq War.
“The publishing of the Chilcot Inquiry has raised a lot of questions for Britain and the role of Tony Blair in invading Iraq,” the Dublin MEP said, adding, “but as the fall-out of the report continues it is important that we look at the facilitatory role Ireland played in the Iraq War.
“At the time, Fianna Fáil shamelessly backed the war by allowing US troops and ammunition pass through Shannon Airport on their way to and from Iraq. Not only did this contravene our stance as a neutral nation but it also facilitated death, destruction, and destabilisation in the Middle East.
“With that precedent set, both Fine Gael and Labour, when in Government, also allowed Shannon Airport to be used as a US military installation.
“Prior to the invasion of Iraq, opponents of the war – most notably, Jeremy Corbyn – said that it would set off a spiral of conflict, of hate, of misery, of desperation that would fuel the wars, the conflict, the terrorism, the depression and the misery of future generations.
“It is the unfortunate truth that such projections have been proven correct.
“In light of the distinctly fraught nature of international relations combined with the militarisation of Europe and moves by the European Union to create a ‘European Army’, Ireland needs to reassess its foreign policy, reinforce its neutrality, and stop the use of Shannon Airport by US troops.”
The Dublin MEP said that the findings in the Chilcot Inquiry do not exist in isolation for Britain.
“Successive Irish governments should also heed its findings and reflect on how their allowance of the use of Shannon Airport facilitated an illegal war, and how we now, more than ever, need to put a stop to the transportation of troops and ammunition to war fronts via Ireland.”
• Irish MEP Liadh Ní Riada with the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics
MEPs support Matt Carthy’s calls to amend Code of Conduct for Commissioners
MEP MATT CARTHY has described the appointment of former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to investment bank Goldman Sachs as a “sickening” confirmation of the “corporate lobby revolving door” in the European institutions.
Matt has written to to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, calling on Barroso to be stripped of his EC pension.
Matt Carthy is a member of the European Parliament’s Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee
“Barroso was President of the European Commission for a decade, from 2004 to 2014,” Matt Carthy recalled. “He was the man at the helm during the global financial crisis and shaped the EU’s austerity-driven response to it, with devastating effects for the people of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and many other countries.
“Now, after serving the absolute bare minimum of the 18-month cooling-off period, he has stepped into a plum role in one of the main institutions that caused the crisis.
“Just three months ago, Goldman Sachs admitted to knowingly defrauding investors from 2005-2007 and was found guilty by the US Justice Department.”
The bank was fined more than $5billion for its role in the global financial crisis.
“This appointment is absolutely sickening,” Matt Carthy. “Unfortunately, it’s not surprising. It’s yet another example of the revolving door in the European institutions between EU officials and the major corporations that shape EU policy through relentless lobbying.
“Now the former Commission President, with all of his contacts and networks, will lobby the same institution he recently led for a massive and notoriously corrupt bank.
“His job will be to push the aggressive deregulation agenda that aims to reverse the measures put in place in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
“Barroso should face sanctions from the European institutions for this brazen act and his generous pension from the Commission should be cut.
“The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU clearly states that European commissioners must ‘respect the obligations arising therefrom and in particular their duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after they have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits’.
“The cooling-off period of 18 months, within which former EU officials cannot step into lobbying roles, is clearly not sufficient and must be extended significantly.
“I have written to Jean Claude Junker to use the provisions of the Treaty in order to strip Mr Barroso of his future pension and any related benefits by making an application to the Court of Justice.
“I also urged the Commission to amend the Code of Conduct for Commissioners in order to extend the cooling-off period from 18 months to five years in order to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest. Several MEPs from other political groupings in the Parliament have also co-signed the letter, supporting my objections.
“This appointment will simply confirm the cynical view held by millions of people in Europe of the unhealthy relationship between the corporate lobby and officialdom. It brings all of the European institutions into disrepute.”