Juncker’s speech should ring alarm bells – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has described comments in European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the European Union address as deeply worrying for Irish sovereignty particularly in the areas of taxation and defence.
Speaking from Strasbourg after Mr Juncker addressed the European Parliament, the Sinn Féin MEP said: “Once again we have the President of the European commission calling for an end to the process of decision-making by unanimity in the Council on crucial issues such as taxation powers and foreign policy, including military missions.
“Despite the fact that Member States including Ireland have consistently rejected the proposal for qualified majority voting on the Council in some of these areas, the fact that Juncker has put it front and centre in today’s speech signals the Commission’s determination to move towards such a system, and should ring alarm bells for the Irish people.
“Many will also be aghast at Juncker’s repugnant proposals to deploy 10,000 border guards to the EU’s frontiers.
“Just yesterday, representatives from the Commission and the European Parliament lined up to condemn the racism, xenophobia, misogyny and anti-refugee cruelty of the Orbán regime in Hungary.
“But today we have Juncker adopting the rhetoric of a strongman fighting the supposed threat posed by desperate people fleeing their homes in search of safety. The militarisation of the EU’s borders and the push towards forcible returns of migrants is disgraceful. It’s a simply a half-step removed from the policies of Orbán and Trump, but framed in the language of legality and solidarity.
“Juncker spoke constantly of the need for strength to face the threats of migration and terrorism, but dedicated just three lines in a 12 page speech to speaking vaguely of Europe’s ‘social dimension’.
“This speech indicates that Mr Juncker is either oblivious to the huge political and economic problems in the EU, that have to a large degree been directly caused by the Commission’s neoliberal policies, or he doesn’t care. These policies have contributed directly to the Brexit referendum result and the rise of far-right parties across the EU.
“His prescription is a recipe for increased political instability. He fails to recognise the deep political crisis at the heart of the EU project, and the hardship millions continue to suffer a decade after the financial crisis.
“I and my colleagues in Sinn Féin will continue to work with others across Europe for a democratic, social Europe where all member states work together as equals and where the real interests of citizens are at the heart of EU policy making.” ENDS