Labour Euro Parliament candidates respond to Macron

Labour Trade Unionists
05 March 2019

Speaking in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s letter to the citizens of Europe published in the Irish Times and across all 28 EU member states, Labour’s three European Parliament candidates have responded with their vision for Europe.

In short, Labour’s answer is Yes to Reform.

Alex White, Labour’s candidate for Dublin said:

“We must never forget that the foundational purpose of the European Union is to put an end, once and for all, to war on the European continent. The EU is and must remain more than just a market.

“The EU has had some notable successes, from equal pay for equal work for women and men, its leadership on climate change, to the elimination of mobile phone roaming charges. But recent years have seen too much emphasis on the market and not enough focus on society.

“Europe’s citizens do not just need freedom to move around Europe for work, but they need freedom from hardship and freedom from exploitation by unscrupulous employers. Europe needs to provide stronger protection for workers, with a floor of minimum standards across Europe to prevent any race to the bottom.”

Sheila Nunan, Labour’s candidate for Ireland South said:

“We need to create a European social floor beyond which we don’t let people fall. Labour at a European level has long called for a New Social Contract for Europe, providing a vision of European reform that works for everyone.

“I’ve said it before, when we talk about European reform we need to get back to the basics. We need to focus on delivering quality jobs and higher wages across Europe. We need to deliver a socially fair and just transition to a low-carbon and digital economy. European co-operation is needed to make sure that we replace jobs lost through technology with new and better jobs, especially in the regions that have been left behind in recent years.

“I welcome President Macron’s call for a stronger social protection for workers, including equal pay for the same work, and EU minimum wages based on annual collective bargaining, which are issues that Labour has long pursued.”

Dominic Hannigan, Labour’s candidate for Midlands North-West said:

“President Macron is right to point out that European co-operation is urgently needed to regulate global finance, to make Internet giants pay their fair share of tax and to protect people’s personal data from exploitation.

“The answer is not necessarily ‘more Europe’, but rather a better focus by the EU on the areas where it is best placed to take action, and restoration of powers to national and local governments in line with the European principle of making decisions as close as possible to the people affected. A better, fairer EU should mean stronger member states and stronger local government, with each focusing on making the best difference to people’s lives.

“I welcome President Macron’s call for European rules to banish incitement to hatred and violence from the Internet, which chimes with Labour’s push to bring in such legislation in Ireland. Likewise, I welcome his call for a humane European asylum policy and a stronger partnership with Africa.

“Most of all, the EU must continue to be a world leader on environmental issues so that we do not leave future generations with a climate that is out of control. President Macron’s call for a European Climate Bank to fund the necessary economic changes is a welcome contribution to the debate on how we ensure that workers and communities are not left behind as we begin to phase out our over-reliance on fossil fuels to drive our economies.”

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