February 22, 2024
All MEP candidates must state their position on Von der Leyen  – MacManus

All MEP candidates must state their position on Von der Leyen  – MacManus
 
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North-West, Chris MacManus, has said Ursula von der Leyen should not be offered a second term as European Commission President. He said that Sinn Féin’s MEPs would not support her candidature and challenged other Euro Election contestants to clearly outline their stance on the matter. 
 
MacManus highlighted a number of shortcomings and controversies that von der Leyen was embroiled in over the current Parliament term she has spent as Commission chief, and hit out particularly at her handling of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 
 
“Von der Leyen´s handling of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has severely damaged the European Union´s credibility as a partner for peace and an honest broker for any future negotiations. Her initial response in backing Israel unconditionally has emboldened their brutal strategy of murder in Gaza. Even now she remains silent.  Her unwillingness to call for an immediate ceasefire and sustainable peace is a mark of shame for the European Union and highlights that she is unfit for a second term as President of the European Commission. 
 
“From an Irish perspective, Ursula von der Leyen has been a let-down as Commission President. Let’s not forget her u-turn over a move to control vaccine exports to the north of Ireland in early 2021, when her Commission triggered Article 16 of the Irish Protocol. This unilateral move was made without lifting the phone to either Belfast or Dublin.
 
“There is also a question mark over her unprofessional handling of the process of awarding contracts for COVID-19 vaccines. Remember, the European Ombudsman criticised von der Leyen’s secrecy over SMS exchanges with Pfizer’s Chief Executive while the contract negotiations were underway.
 
“She is also one of their driving forces behind the growing militarisation agenda of the EU, which disrespects Ireland’s long held neutrality. Her comments today about only wanting to work with those who are pro-Nato will send shivers down the spines of the majority of Irish people.”
 
“It is my opinion that all Irish MEPs and candidates ought to commit to resisting her re-appointment as Commission President. The Irish government should do the same, and should insist on a president more aligned with the values of the Irish people. Sinn Féin’s MEPs will most certainly not support her efforts to secure five more years.” ENDS
 
Audio Clip for Newsroom available here

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