Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the European Commission’s MFF budget proposals run contrary to the original spirit of the EU.
The Ireland South MEP, who is the only Irish representative on both the EU Budget’s Committee and the MFF Contact Group, addressed the European Parliament during the debate following Commissioner Oettinger’s proposals.
“I am hugely disappointed with this proposed budget,” she said.
“While I am glad to see the increase in spending on research, education and training through the very valuable Horizon and Erasmus+ programmes, and I welcome the increase in environmental spending, albeit far too small of an increase at just 5%, I am deeply concerned about other aspects of this budget.
“The Commission had an opportunity here to provide an ambitious road map for the reform of the EU that people want to see, for a return to the social values and goals of peace and prosperity that were the foundations of the EU.
“Instead we have been given cuts to key social funding and a massive increase in military spending.
“Both the 5% cut to CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) and the 7% cut to Cohesion will have huge ramifications for Ireland as they are two of the funds we depend most upon.
“If implemented they will have a devastating effect on our agriculture and fisheries industries.
“This would have been bad on its own but it is an absolute scandal, a slap in the face to the ordinary people of Europe that these cuts are going ahead while €2billion, and up to €60billion in the long term, is committed to private military spending.
“Given that Member States already devote more than a quarter of a trillion euro, more than the entire EU budget, on military spending every year, it seems a gross misuse of vital funding, one directed more at the ideological goals of some rather than the genuine safety of any EU citizens.
“It’s clear that there are those within the Commission who are using Brexit as an excuse to push ahead with plans for the militarisation of the EU.
“We cannot allow this to happen and I will be using my role on the MFF Contact Group to voice Ireland’s opposition to it.”