June 18, 2021
“EU must listen to people and show appetite for real change” – Chris MacManus MEP

“EU must listen to people and show appetite for real change” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP says genuine reform is needed urgently if EU project is to survive

Speaking from Strasbourg while attending the opening plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus said, “there can be no doubt that the EU is in need of fundamental reform. Too often EU Treaties have been used to impose austerity and to limit democratic choice.”

MEP MacManus who has been selected as a delegate by The Left Group in the European Parliament said: “Too often the EU has not listened to people. The Lisbon Treaty was rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands but was rebranded and came into force anyway – without another vote. At least the Irish government was forced to have a second referendum in which the whole ‘project fear’ arsenal was brought to bear to reverse its rejection.”

“The Brexit referendum – as ill-considered, and as damaging for Ireland as it has been – demonstrated that the EU needs to listen to people more. Even Michel Barnier admitted as much.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP said the Conference on the Future of Europe, would be a litmus test of the EU’s sincerity on matters of reform.

“This conference is an opportunity for the EU to listen to people, and to bring about changes that would see it serving people first rather than big business; to bring real power over issues that affect peoples’ daily lives closer to those people. The EU must put the needs of citizens at the centre of its’ decision making, not a neo liberal agenda of commercial and corporate interests.”

“However, listening to some of the key players, I have my doubts about how effective it will be. Many of the key players seem to be either doggedly defending the status quo or pushing for the further centralisation of decision-making. Neither is acceptable.”

“And when they say “listening to citizens”, the governments need to genuinely seek the views of ordinary people, not just those who agree with them. Uncomfortable truths and constructive criticism are key necessities in building a better European Union.”

MacManus concluded, “We need an EU which is more democratic, more social, and more closely in tune with the wishes of the people. We shouldn’t be afraid to take power away from the EU and return it to local and national governments in order to allow it to focus on those issues that are best dealt with at the multinational level. And we need an EU that respects the neutrality of many member states and rejects the militarisation of international relations.” ENDS

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