Sinn Féin TD and member of the EU Affairs Committee, Ruairí Ó Murchú TD, has attended the virtual conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the EU (COSAC) organised by the German Bundestag.
Elected representatives throughout Europe attended the two-day conference with sessions on transatlantic relations, lessons learned from the corona crisis, the future of the EU and an address by German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.
Teachta Ó Murchú welcomed the opportunity for a bottom up approach and conversation on what people want to see from the European Union.
Speaking on the virtual conference, the Louth TD said:
“I welcomed the opportunity to speak with the German Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel to express my gratitude for the solidarity shown to Ireland from across the European Union regarding Brexit and the Irish border. I highlighted the concerns of people in border communities such as Dundalk.
“I welcomed the statements from elected representatives throughout Europe who expressed their desire to see Michel Barnier secure a deal with Britain with Chancellor Merkel affirming that her attention is on a deal rather thancontingency measures or the worst-case scenario.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the European Union the importance of individual state intervention. This has been difficult for the island of Ireland as we deal with Brexit and the British border.
“Across the EU there is a need for greater interconnectivity in relation to contract tracing and the harmonisation of travel and testing. There are weaknesses and preparation must take place in regard tohealthcare data sources and the analysis by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
“The right to cure and vaccination is vital. The EU must put public health before private profit. The European Commission must guarantee that vaccines become freely accessible to everyone. A collective threat requires a collective response.
“Chancellor Merkel commented on the difficulties in linking the rule of law to the disbursement of EU funds to countries, specifically in relation to articles 7 and 2 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU).
“The rule of law is one of the fundamental values of the European Union, I expressed that we therefore cannot have a situation where we accept aspects and forget about the situation in regard toCatalonia. We must get serious about the rule of law.”