“Next month’s elections to the European Parliament are an opportunity for citizens to have a real say in shaping the future of the European Union over the next five years”, Fianna Fáil’s MEP candidate for Midlands North West, Senator Thomas Byrne, has said.
Senator Byrne was speaking in Galway today at an election hustings organised by The Wheel, a support and representative network for the community and voluntary sector in Ireland. The Wheel is facilitating a project aimed at encouraging greater engagement between civil society and the European Parliament.
“The ultimate engagement between European citizens and their Parliament is by casting their vote in next month’s elections and by continuing to monitor the performance of the newly elected MEPs. It is important that citizens participate in the largest numbers possible. The European Parliament is the only directly elected institution within the European Union and – especially since the Lisbon Treaty – it has enormous power and influence over citizens’ lives. The Parliament votes on the vast majority of new European laws. It has equal power of decision making with the Council of Ministers (who represent the governments of Member States) in more than forty areas of activity, including consumer protection, improving competition between businesses to benefit consumers, agriculture, energy and the EU budget, including how much is spent to help our young people get work.
Senator Byrne said “Fianna Fáil has a clear vision of how the European Parliament and the overall European Union must be made to work better on behalf of invidual citizens.”
“We are committed to a stronger, simpler and more democratic European Union. We believe that the EU must pursue policies that promote growth, equality and fairness. The European Union must focus more on creating jobs and growing the economy. It must cut out the bureaucratic red tape and rules that are strangling our small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It must also use our money better and cut unnecessary waste which creates a further burden on our hard pressed taxpayers.