Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Wednesday, 10 November 2010

OFMDFM Committee

Jane Morrice and Mike Smyth of the European Economic and Social Committee briefed the OFMDFM Committee on European issues, on 10 November 2010.

Mr Smyth spoke about Euro 2020, the EU's growth strategy for the next decade. He said this would probably be set to one side until after 2014 while the present crisis was addressed.

He added that, "the whole future of the euro is in the balance".

Mr Smyth defended the cost of the EU saying that its budget represented less than 5% of public expenditure in the member states.

He said the Berlaymont building in Brussels contained 3,600 bureaucrats to cover the whole of the EU. By comparison there were 900 civil servants in Dundonald House at Stormont running the agriculture department.

The committee took evidence on the programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration with particular reference to gender, sexuality and disability.

Gillian Clifford from the Women's Aid Federation said the consultation document appeared to cover only race and political and religious beliefs.

She said there was "astonishment and hurt" at the lack of consideration of women's issues.

Simon McClenaghan from Disability Action said the publication did not mention disability. "I find that incredible," he added.

Etain O'Kane from the Lesbian Advocacy Service said her organisation wanted to express the positive aspects of the lesbian community.

She spoke to the committee about Sappho the ancient Greek poet from the island of Lesbos and asked what a Sappho born in the Antrim Area Hospital would experience today.

OFMDFM committee membership


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