Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has been appointed to the European Parliament’s Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) Contact Group.
The MFF Contact Group is a panel of nine, composed of one representative nominated by each Parliamentary Group. The group will play a decisive role in shaping the European Parliament’s stance on the European budget for the next seven years.
The Ireland South MEP, who is the sole Irish representative on the group has said she will be placing Irish needs firmly on the agenda while promoting a more social Europe.
Ms. Ní Riada was speaking ahead of a meeting this evening between members of the Group and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.
“We are entering a very important phase of the EU budget as the general framework is negotiated every 7 years,” she said.
“This framework sets out what we want the EU budget to do. In the corridors of Brussels these negotiations have already begun.
“It is of great importance that Ireland has a voice on this contact group. Not only will it have the ear of the president of the European Parliament and heads of state across Europe, but the outcome of this meeting will shape the inter-party negotiations of the European Parliament.
“Brexit is a significant factor in any discussion about the future of the EU budget but it has particular ramifications for Ireland.
“It is vital that all of our partners in Europe understand that Ireland faces the greatest risk from Brexit. While the EU budget will be left short by Britain’s decision to leave, we must look to protect the programmes that benefit people’s lives and contribute to a social Europe.
“The European Parliament is dominated by centre-right and right-wing representatives. That means there is a lot of push to have any short fall in the EU budget be at the expense of CAP payments and social programmes.
“We need to ensure that the impact of Brexit is mitigated as much as possible and not allow opportunistic attempts to further cut socially beneficial programmes.
“I will be ensuring that both Ireland and these wider social issues are at the heart of any discussion on the future of the EU budget.”