European Union member-state Equality
The stated goal of the European Economic Community established in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome has remained the same as the Communities morphed into the European Union of today - to raise the living standards of EU citizens. The preamble of the Treaty affirms "as the essential objective of their efforts, the constant improvement of the living and working conditions of their peoples".
It is vital to recognise that many policy choices, in particular, the so-called 'bailouts' related to the Financial Crisis, have resulted in a failure to uphold these objectives, and have led to a significant deterioriation in the living standards of those at the lower end of the socio-economic scale, contributing to a widening of the gap between rich and poor in many member-states, including Ireland.
Pointing this out does not make one 'anti-European', on the contrary, a vital part of the mandate of 'pro-Europeans' is to tackle such inequalities and demand that policies at the EU level are re-designed to rectify these mistakes. As Mahatma Gandhi said in 1947, "Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly."
There are many ways to support equality for Ireland at EU level, through public, parliamentary, and EU channels, including the launch of a Citizens' Initiative, use of the new member-state parliamentary checks provided by the Lisbon Treaty, and both formal and informal approaches for legislative change at the European Parliament and European Commission. My plans are set out below:
Dr. Karen Devine