Martina Anderson:English referendum should not be imposed on the people of the North of Ireland
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson along with Alyn Smith MEP and Jill Evans MEP representing the SNP and Plaid Cymru have today (Wednesday) intervened in a European Parliament debate on the EU proposals which may form a basis for agreement to be presented by the British Prime Minster in a referendum on EU membership.
All agreed that a possible June referendum, in the event that Britain can agree a deal with the other member states, would be disrespectful of elections in May and give insufficient time for a proper campaign. All three also agreed that Scotland, the North of Ireland and Wales must not be removed from the EU against their democratic will.
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said:
"Ireland's place is Europe and BREXIT is detrimental for Ireland particularly for All Ireland integration. Sinn Féin wants to see the creation of a social Europe, a Europe with democracy at its core and a Europe that is closer to citizens.
"The north should have its own referendum, calculated and counted separately and the outcome respected. The result of an English referendum should not be imposed on the people of the North of Ireland.
Alan Smyth, the SNP MEP added,
"We have elections in May and a fundamentally different set of attitudes to EU issues, and a June referendum would be disrespectful of democracy in our countries. We in Scotland were in our own referendum promised by the Prime Minister that Britain is a 'family of nations' and we are fully entitled to expect that to be respected now.
"Scotland has a different politics and a different attitude to the EU. If, as I expect, a majority of Scots vote to remain in the EU, it would be a democratic outrage for us to be removed from the EU against our will."
Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans concluded:
"I represent Wales and EU membership has brought us positive economic, social and cultural benefits. I also believe that the EU has benefitted from having Wales as a member.
"There is a great deal about the EU I would like to change. But we can only do that by working with our European partners - to improve policy and make the EU more effective and more responsive. We are far better off working for change from within than shouting from the side-lines. If Wales votes to remain in, we should not be dragged out against our democratic will.
"I want to really engage people in an open, honest, fact-based and mature debate because it's a decision that will affect many generations to come