Sinn Féin MEP challenges Von Der Leyen on “lack of engagement” over Article 16 shambles
Today in the European Parliament, Ireland’s Midlands Northwest MEP Chris MacManus questioned the Commission on its “Outrageous” attempt to use Article 16 of the Irish Protocol.
Speaking from the floor of Parliament MacManus said, “It is unacceptable that the Commission didn’t see the potential of destabilising the Withdrawal Agreement and the Good Friday Agreement by proposing the use of Article 16 of the Irish Protocol. We must ensure that the fiasco isn’t repeated.”
The Sinn Féin MEP also used his speaking time to call for an openness in communication between Brussels, Dublin and Belfast on all such matters, requesting a “structural commitment with the north of Ireland at all levels, recognising its special status as defined in the Protocol.”
MacManus concluded the address by urging “consistent dialogue with the Joint First Ministers” and for an EU understanding of their responsibilities to Irish Citizens in the six counties. “There needs to be a systemic engagement with citizens, communities and their elected representatives. We must find a way to ensure that EU decisions that directly affect nearly two million north of Ireland citizens – currently without their input – is addressed and resolved. There must be no democratic deficit.”
Speaking immediately after the debate MEP MacManus said “In my opinion it is deeply concerning that the EU did not see the potential for destabilisation of the agreement. This cannot happen again, and you can be sure that we will be working with colleagues across Parliament to ensure it never does!
MacManus concluded by expressing concern on how the Commission are handling the situation. “The silence we’ve witnessed today from President Von Der Leyen and the Commission despite numerous questions regarding the Article 16 debacle is nothing short of unacceptable. It is certainly a cause for grave concern. During many questions from Irish MEPs and others during the course of debate, we saw notable absences and a complete silence in terms of our search for answers to the Commission’s mishandling of the crisis.”