Irish native MEP Mairead McGuinness has formally entered the race for the presidency of the European parliament.
The Ardee born MEP was officially endorsed by Taoiseach (Irish PM) Enda Kenny at the Young Fine Gael National Conference in Galway last weekend.
‘I want you to know I have absolute faith in Mairead McGuinness. She will make an outstanding President of the European Parliament.’
The MEP said that European citizens need ‘a strong, credible voice in the next president of the European Parliament’, as she formally declared her candidacy to become the EPP Group’s nominee for European Parliament President.
Commenting on her candidacy, McGuinness said it is ‘an honour and a privilege’ to put her name forward as a credible candidate and from an EU and an Irish perspective, representing a small member state, such an achievement is very positive.
In her speech to the YFG conference, the Midlands North West MEP noted the challenges ahead for the EU, including Brexit:
“Brexit can kill or cure the EU – it is our choice.
I believe that, notwithstanding the upset and regret at the outcome of the UK vote, the EU is standing firm and united, respecting the outcome of the referendum and waiting to open the exit negotiations.
The ball in is the court of the UK to kick-start those negotiations.”
She added: “But the EU stands firm on the four principles – the four freedoms. We are in for some tough talking.
Last week, I pointed out to the UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, that Ireland’s position in these talks is firmly within the EU27 and the many issues of concern to Ireland will be negotiated in that context.”
MEP McGuinness stressed that the EU must stand up for its core values and had a particular message for young people:
“Young people must be part of this conversation because your futures are being shaped by the political climate we live in today and your children will live through the future which will unfold from this uncertainty.”
The Louth native is responsible for the Parliament’s Information Policy, Press and Relations with Citizens as Vice-President, including overseeing the role of the Parliament’s Information Offices across the 28 Member States, among other responsibilities.
McGuinness is a Member of both the Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee.
The EPP Group in the European Parliament, to which Fine Gael is aligned, will select its candidate for European Parliament President on December 13th, ahead of a vote by Parliament to elect its new President in January.