MEP Matt Carthy has urged Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Irish Government to work for fundamental reform of the EU. Carthy was speaking from Strasbourg, where An Taoiseach addressed the European Parliament.
The Sinn Féin MEP said:
“The Taoiseach’s speech in the European Parliament was strong on rhetoric but short on the radical proposals that are required to bring about the type of change Europe needs.
“The Irish people have consistently made it clear that they want to be part of the European Union. This was most recently evidenced in the decision of voters in the North to declare remain during the Brexit referendum.
“But the Irish people have also increasingly made it clear that they want fundamental reform of the EU.
“They, like millions of their fellow citizens across the EU, want and need a more democratic, social Europe, where countries come together as equals to implement policies in the interests of all our citizens rather than for corporations or the larger member states.
“But it seems many EU leaders are determined to ignore the demands by citizens for more accountability and democracy within the EU.
“Their solution to the crises and turmoil of recent years is simply doing what they always intended, only faster and with less democratic oversight than was originally envisaged.
“Unfortunately, remarks by An Taoiseach’s suggest that this is also the position of the Irish Government. It is not, I believe, the position of the Irish people.
“They want a Europe with national governments working together as equals on the big challenges of our time – war, climate change, migration, tackling mass corporate tax avoidance.
“They don’t want PESCO or an EU army – they want Ireland and Europe promoting peace across the world. They want an end to the EU’s austerity agenda that has caused a political crisis across the continent and contributed to Ireland’s crises in health, housing and public services.
“An Taoiseach needs to use his role to demand fundamental reform of the EU instead of being a mouthpiece for the status quo.
“Proposals such as the creation of a Pan-EU MEP electorate will simply lead to further disengagement of citizens.
“Leo Varadkar and his government need to move beyond rhetoric and join with us in demanding the type of EU that the Irish people want and that Europe needs.”