Treaty of Nice: Cowen Rejects Sinn Féin Attack on Applicant Countries and CAP
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., has called on Sinn Féin to name the 7 applicant States which they believe are not worthy of membership of the European Union. Commenting on the claim made by Sinn Féin yesterday that the Treaty of Amsterdam allowed enlargement of up to 20 and that the changes in the Nice Treaty were unnecessary to proceed with enlargement, he challenged them to square their proposal to block these small applicant countries with their contention that the Treaty of Nice will discriminate against smaller countries.
Sinn Féin has failed to acknowledge that the Amsterdam Treaty provided for further Treaty changes prior to enlargement. The Minister urged Sinn Féin to get rid of its bunker mentality and to wake up to the vision of a peaceful and democratic Europe which is at the heart of institutional change in the European Union. "Can anyone reasonably contend that we would have negotiated the institutional changes in the Treaty of Nice for any other reason but to prepare for the next historic enlargement of the Union and to make space for countries from the former eastern bloc who have been excluded from the European family for too long?," he asked.
The Minister went on to dismiss Gerry Adams' contention that membership of the European Union has contributed to the demise of the agriculture industry. "This extraordinary statement will no doubt come as a surprise to the leaders of the IFA and ICMSA, as well as many farming families and those involved in the hugely successful agri-business sector. Mr. Adams is clearly unaware that Ireland has received IR£24 billion from the Common Agricultural Policy since we joined the Union."
The Minister said he is looking forward to a constructive debate on the merits of the Treaty of Nice during the referendum campaign but urged Sinn Féin and other opponents to read the text of the Treaty and the White Paper before rushing to judgment on it. "Let's get real about the Treaty of Nice," he said. " It has nothing to do with super States, standing armies, nuclear weapons or building Empires. It has everything to do with enlargement and extending the benefits of membership. It is a win-win document for all concerned".