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Sinn Féin MEPs to vote against Right-Wing nominee for EU Commission President
Speaking this evening, Monday, Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, confirmed that he and his party colleague Martina Anderson, will be voting against the candidature of Ursula Von der Leyen during her ratification process in the European Parliament on Tuesday.
Matt Carthy said:
“We will vote to reject the council nomination of Ursula der Leyen because we believe that her leadership of the Commission would represent more of the same and that her political disposition means that she will be unable to address the fundamental reform that we consider vital for the future of the EU.
“Ms. Von der Leyen’s record is one of championing austerity in Germany and across Europe, she supported imposing billions of Euros of private banking debt on the peoples of Ireland, Greece and other bail-out countries that resulted in extreme hardship in these states.
“She wants to further centralise economic policies and further reduce the margin of manoeuvre for governments while at the same time she opposes taking effective action on corporate tax avoidance and evasion.
“Throughout her political career Ursula Von der Leyen has been weak on social justice and human rights. Her strong support for EU militarisation, including the advancement of an EU army has been well documented she has been content to see arms sold to the repressive regime of Saudi Arabia.
“It’s no wonder that Leo Varadkar is her Director of Elections. He would agree with her on almost everything.
“But, for Sinn Féin, we strongly believe that Ursula Von der Leyen is not the type of Commission president that the people of Ireland support or the EU needs at this critical juncture.
“Of course, we welcome Ms. Von der Leyen’s stated position on Brexit in supporting the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop which is in line with the expressed views of all other mooted candidates for the role of commission president.
“Sinn Fein has played an important role in ensuring widespread support for special arrangements for the north of Ireland in any withdrawal agreement even during a period when the Irish government’s position was weaker than what was required. Thanks to our efforts, and the campaigning work of communities particularly in the border region, the position of the Irish government and the EU has since been rock solid in support of the withdrawal agreement. Our party will continue to work with all players in the negotiations, including whoever is elected as Commission president, to ensure that Irish interests are protected throughout the Brexit process.
“By acting as the spokesperson for the most right-wing EPP prime ministers in the European Council, Leo Varadkar has done more damage to the position of Ireland than our vote on Commission President ever could. He has made unnecessary enemies in the Council and in the Parliament.
“By opposing her nomination, Sinn Féin will ensure that all political groups in parliament can understand that the backstop is not just the property of Leo Varadkar and the EPP, but a pivotal position that requires support from all quarters”.