Young Fine Gael Policy Adopted at Highest EU levels

Proposals put forward by Young Fine Gael were presented to and agreed upon by the full EPP Congress in Marseille. The Congress was attended by over 22 EU leaders including President Nicholas Sarkozy, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD. The proposals were originally drafted by Colm Lauder, Deputy Secretary General of the Youth of the European People's Party (Youth EPP), in his then capacity as International Secretary of YFG.

Mr. Lauder and Young Fine Gael had developed a detailed critique of the European Union's response to the Basel III Banking Accords and suggested alternative proposals that should be integrated with EU policy. These proposals include a re-examination of the complex relationship between investment banking houses and retail banks, protection of EU banking competitiveness and the prioritisation of existing Basel III proposals to encourage a quicker restoration of confidence in the European banking sector.

When presenting this resolution at the EPP Congress, Colm Lauder stressed: "the Basel III proposals are a step in the right direction but, unfortunately, do not fully address inherent problems with the banking sector, in particular the lack of a response to the "too big to fail" conundrum. Europe should take a stronger position and call for a partial reassessment of the Basel III Accords."

YFG resolutely opposed suggestions that the Franco-German financial transaction tax proposal be included in this resolution unless it was on a global or EU-27 level. YFG delegates argued that they could not support a FTT where it would be only implemented by select Eurozone states. An overwhelming majority of Youth EPP delegates supported Mr. Lauder's position (strong support came from Dutch and Nordic delegates), while only the youth delegates of the French UMP and German CDU openly favoured such a tax.

The International Committee of Young Fine Gael initially submitted the proposals at a Youth EPP Council meeting in Naples in February 2011, and following that, at the EPP Political Assembly in Brussels in May 2011 where they were unanimously adopted. Subsequently, the proposals were presented to the EPP Political Bureau and received a warm response from the EPP MEPs, MPs and policy makers.

This is the first time an Irish proposal originating at a Youth EPP Council meeting has been adopted at this level.

"The influence of Young Fine Gael at European level took a significant step forward last week. It signifies the high respect that Fine Gael and Young Fine Gael command at European level. Fine Gael has historically and continually been extremely pro-active at the European level in fighting for Irish interests as is evident by our continued efforts to influence EU policy. This contrasts strongly with the almost non-existent influence of Fianna Fail and Labour at an international level," Colm Lauder concluded.

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