Ireland’s ambivalence towards European integration criticised by former EU commissioner
Increasing Euro-scepticism and racism interlinked, Sutherland says
Increasing Euroscepticism and anti-immigrant nationalism are two “interlinking trends” with each feeding off the other across the community , ormer EU commissioner and attorney general Peter Sutherland said, delivering the third annual Dr Garret FitzGerald me
Ireland must be “unambiguously committed” to further European Union integration at a time when resurgent nationalism could “fatally undermine” the entire European project, former EU commissioner and attorney general Peter Sutherland has warned.
Increasing Euroscepticism and anti-immigrant nationalism are two “interlinking trends”, Mr Sutherland said, delivering the third annual Dr Garret FitzGerald memorial lecture at NUI Galway.
“As it did in the 1930s, the economic turmoil of recent times has provided fertile ground in many parts of Europe for the growth of extremism based on racism,” he said.
“Even though Ireland has not yet shown opinion poll evidence of tendencies of rising substantial support for anti-European views, it may be said that, over the years, our role in the political process of developing European integration has been curious in its occasional ambivalence on some issues of sharing sovereignty.
Neutrality not ‘sacrosanct’
Recalling Dr FitzGerald’s belief in European integration, Mr Sutherland said the former taoiseach had “never accepted the proposition that we had a sacrosanct “neutrality” that inhibited engagement in European integration.
Responding, Prof Gerard Quinn of NUIG’s school of law said Europe needs to “truly value its diversity” . “Europe needs more migrant workers and entrepreneurs and needs to welcome people of different faiths and world views. Europe needs to deal with its own crises – crises which are historically inevitable – without closing in on itself,” he said.