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Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK

Social Democratic and Labour Party

The Social Democratic and Labour Party

Manifesto: "Putting people first."

"The issues that directly affect Northern Ireland remain high on the European political agenda. Foremost amongst these are agriculture, rural development, trade, the environment, transport and social issues such as training and equality."

The euro

As the European single currency zone "consolidates and develops we must ensure that our needs and interests are fully protected. Membership of the eurozone is a prime objective of the SDLP."

  • The SDLP supports moves to achieve early entry to the euro.

    Agriculture, fisheries and rural development

    The SDLP will:

  • Work for a more integrated approach to rural issues. "Our purpose is to strengthen, develop and enhance rural communities".
  • Work for greater harmonisation of an approach throughout Ireland. "This will be achieved in the context of devolution and the new multi-party administration in Belfast."

    The SDLP's priorities over the next five years are:

  • More regional discretion in the implementation of the agreed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package.
  • Mandatory payment in full, to the relevant sectors, of the funds available within National Envelopes.
  • Northern Ireland to continue to be treated as a separate region for LFA purposes, distribution of funds to be calculated on an individual farmer basis.
  • The introduction of a farm retirement scheme as soon as possible.
  • The introduction of a forestry scheme tailored to Northern Ireland needs.
  • Improved farmer access to rural development funds.
  • Urgent implementation of the date-based beef export scheme.

    The SDLP will:

  • Oppose the introduction of modulation, and any re-opening of negotiations on the duration of milk quotas.
  • Work for changes in the oilseeds/proteins and cereals regimes.
  • Work for close monitoring of the impact of CAP reforms on the sheep sector.
  • Work for measures to regulate pig-meat production across Europe.

    'Ensuring a healthy European environment'

    The SDLP's priorities include:

  • Ensuring that all member states co-operate to improve the quality of all aspects of our environment, so that all member states respect the same principles.
  • Making sure that environmental concerns are considered when transport, agriculture, regional, fisheries, energy and development policies are being drawn up.
  • Developing a sustainable approach to industrial and waste management.
  • Working for international standards for environmental protection and an adherence to the undertakings given at the Rio de Janeiro summit in 1992 and the Kyoto conference in 1997.
  • Working to ensure that all countries within the EU, and in particular Great Britain, honour the commitments made at the OSPAR Convention in Sintra, Portugal, in respect of the banning of the dumping of decommissioned off-shore installations at sea, the phasing out of the disposal of toxic wastes and the eradication of the discharges of toxic and radioactive wastes.
  • Ensuring the total eradication of all waste for reprocessing from European and far eastern countries to the BNFL base at Sellafield; an end to the reprocessing and radioactive waste at Sellafield; the cessation of all accidental discharges of waste into the Irish sea and the closure of all plant at Sellafield.

    'An open, transparent and accountable Europe'

    "The EU needs democratic and efficient institutions if it is to deliver effective policies which accommodate the larger Union of the next century. We will soon have a European Union which will extend from Belfast to Budapest, from Tyrone to Tallinn. We need to reform the EU so that decision-making and accountability are improved while ensuring that the diversity of Europe is maintained."

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