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Sunday, June 13, 1999 Published at 20:29 GMT 21:29 UK


Alliance Party



The Alliance Party

Manifesto: "People first in Europe."

"Alliance is a strongly pro-European party. We are conscious of the massive contribution that the European Union has made and will continue to make towards consolidating peace and democracy. It has helped to promote human rights and multiculturalism, to develop civil society. It is helping us to achieve economic growth and prosperity, to protect the environment, and to support agriculture.

"In short, it is enhancing the quality of life for its citizens right across the continent."

Alliance manifesto proposals include the following:

The euro

"Alliance believes that the swift and early entry of the UK into the single currency is in Northern Ireland's best economic interest."

"There will be some costs and dislocations created through the entry to the Euro, but the potential benefits outweigh any disadvantages. The timing of any entry must be carefully judged in terms of what is the appropriate exchange rate, and the convergence of business cycles. However, the correct moment to join should come sooner rather than later."

Agriculture and rural development

  • "In Northern Ireland, traditional farming is under considerable threat. Within a common rural policy across the EU, Alliance accepts that direct price support will inevitably be reduced. We will insist that funding is redirected to other measures of farm support, such as agri-environmental schemes, as well as wider rural development."

  • "Local farmers must be given the opportunity to trade freely across the whole of the EU, maximising the advantages of the local climate in grass-based production, as well as developing additional niche markets."

    Regional development

  • "The Alliance Party is committed to improving the transport and energy infrastructure of Northern Ireland."

    'Helping to build the peace'

  • "Alliance supports the continuation of Peace and Reconciliation Funds after 1999. Lessons should be learnt from our experiences so far in the distribution of these funds. Consideration should be given to making sure that projects can become sustainable in the long term, after external funding is withdrawn."

    Learning from Europe

  • "The conventions of the Council of Europe have shown us the way on human rights. Alliance welcomes the belated decision of the British government to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into our domestic law."

  • "We believe that the Irish government should follow suit. Alliance believes that the development of a wider Northern Ireland Bill of Rights should follow the highest international standards."

    'Making Europe work for all its citizens'

    "Alliance is a member of the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party. Together, the parties that make up this grouping form a strong and cohesive force. "

  • "We have been in the forefront of the Parliament's campaign for human and civil rights, and against racism and genocide."
  • "We have always been strongly in favour of a common foreign and security policy, and have argued in particular for a more effective role for the Union in the Balkans."
  • "Along with our colleagues, we have been active in encouraging the growth of pluralism in Central and Eastern Europe, and in preparing for enlargement."

    'Empowering the European citizen'

  • "We believe that government should be as decentralised as practicable. The participation of the citizen is strongest in the local community."
  • "At a local and European level we will continue to insist upon the full application of the principles of open government."
  • "Alliance would increase access of the EU citizen to the European Court of Justice, as well as reinforce the powers of the Ombudsman."

    'Civil rights and civil order'

  • "Alliance supports the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Minorities into EU law."
  • "Special attention must be paid to the rights and opportunities of Europe's minorities. Non-EU citizens must enjoy the full protection of EU law. The future development of European citizenship must be motivated by the desire to spread the fruits of liberty and social justice worldwide."
  • "Alliance welcomes the European Union's commitment to develop a common immigration policy, without which freedom of movement of people within the Union will remain a pipe-dream."
  • "We also insist that the treatment of refugees be improved. Member states should be obliged to share costs and responsibilities across the European Union. Financial support for actions in support of refugees should take the form of an EU Refugee Fund."

    Institutional reform

  • "We support a further shift away from intergovernmental ways of making decisions towards the full exploitation of the democratic and judicial procedures laid down in the Treaty."
  • "We will work at European, member state and regional level to enhance the representative capability of the Union and to improve its efficiency and effectiveness."
  • "The European Parliament must have full powers of co-decision whenever the Council acts by qualified majority vote."
  • "We would widen the scope of the Parliament's budgetary control to cover all EU expenditure, and give it the right of assent over all legislation concerning police and judicial matters."

    Enlargement

  • "EU enlargement will make a major contribution to peace and stability. All countries, which are able and willing to fulfil the conditions of EU membership should be welcome to join. We applaud the advances made by Central and East European countries in developing pluralistic democracy, market economies and social justice."

    'Building a dynamic economy'

  • "Alliance is pledged to the values of individual freedom and responsibility, equal opportunities and sustainable development. We believe that the role of government is as a guarantor of fair competition and social justice, the liberalisation of trade, and environmental and consumer protection. government must be capable of recognising and addressing market failure."

    'Reinforcing the single market'

  • "We will work to complete and enforce the single market in such areas as financial services, and public and defence procurement."

    Farming

  • "We and our colleagues continue to insist on the need to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) according to the threefold objectives of sustainable development (including public health and animal welfare), less public intervention and more decentralisation."

  • "At the same time, the European Union's policies should be rapidly developed to enhance the rural way of life, including family farms, and the prudent management of the countryside."

    'Security through participation'

  • "We believe that the European Union has a duty to project worldwide the principles of freedom, democracy, security and justice. We want the Union to invest in Europe's own security by developing a common foreign and security policy based on these values, including eventually common defence."

  • "Europe must be determined to act wherever the rule of law is ignored, human rights are violated and peace is endangered . . . Alliance believes that in the last resort members of the Union are right to back their many declarations about Kosovo with the use of force, and in any event must build a special partnership with that troubled region."

    Defence

  • "Alliance will work to assert a stronger European security and defence identity, involving the incorporation of WEU within the European Union. We welcome the fact that WEU now has the capability to carry out peace support operations with the help of Nato resources."



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