Name: Barry Andrews
European Constituency: Dublin
Preferred pronoun: Didn’t answer
Party: Fianna Fáil
Have you held a previous elected position?:
Yes: Councillor, TD and Minister
What are your reasons for running?:
The EU is under threat from extreme nationalism and any threat to the EU is a threat to Ireland. I want to defend the values that have brought peace to Europe and social and economic progress to Ireland over the last four decades. We need to send MEPs to Europe who can build alliances to address the big issues like climate change, integration, social inclusion, digital responsibility. These are urgent issues that can be most effectively tackled at EU level. We can’t afford to waste time on a Eurosceptic agenda that will block any effort to respond to these big challenges.
What parliamentary group will you sit with in the EP and why?:
Fianna Fáil is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party in the European Parliament and if elected, I will sit with ALDE in the parliament. ALDE is a liberal political group and is rooted in the principles of democracy, the rule of law, equality, tolerance and solidarity. ALDE is committed to building a peaceful, prosperous, and united Europe that works for the benefit of all the citizens. Membership of ALDE affords me an opportunity to work with a political grouping that is committed to promoting and protecting the EU and delivering policies that can make a real and tangible difference to people’s everyday lives. Polls are predicting that ALDE will hold the balance of power in the next parliament.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing young people in Ireland and what do you intend to do about them?:
In many instances, demands to tackle global problems like the future of the planet, wealth inequality, gender equality, mental health and the increased social pressures of living in a digital age, are being led by young people. In addition, young people are worried about their own personal futures: what will they do in life to make a living and will they get the education to do it? Will they ever own a place to live? How to get from A to B for work, study or play?
These personal worries are connected to larger global issues. Ireland, in particular, is a very open economy. Our capacity to grow and prosper, create jobs and provide for all our people is dependent on the global economy. That is why being part of the EU is so important to Ireland. I will not make individual promises but I do undertake to make the Sustainable Development Goals, agreed by 193 UN member states in 2015, the framework for all my actions as an MEP. These Goals provide a blueprint for the achievement of peace and prosperity for people and the planet out to 2030. The Goals, 17 in all, recognise that ending poverty, tackling climate change and sustainable economic growth, can only be achieved through global partnership involving business as well as government and civic society. Working with the ALDE Group, these goals will guide my work as an MEP for the benefit of all but especially young people whose future depends on their fulfilment.
What will you do to ensure funding opportunities (e.g Erasmus and the Youth Employment Initiative) is increased in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework?:
In the last parliament, ALDE, the Group to which Fianna Fáil is affiliated in the EP, was responsible for ensuring that the budget for the Erasmus programme more than doubled in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework to €30 billion. This will make it possible to give support to up to 12 million participants which is three times as many as in the current financing period. I welcome this very significant increase in the Erasmus budget and I would urge all interested students to apply for funding under the various strands of the Programme.
If elected, I will work to ensure this programme expands and develops to include more vocational Education and training centres of excellence across Europe. There will also be a stronger focus on increasing participation of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in this highly successful EU initiative for young people.
ALDE has also launched a pilot project to set up co-operatives for young people and graduates, in which they create jobs and learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. I will work with my Group to ensure this pilot project becomes adopted EU policy with follow up programmes EU-wide.
Employee mobility in the EU is largely undeveloped. In fact, just 3% of the total workforce move within the EU to work and yet there are skills shortages in may EU countries. In Ireland, we need to teach more languages at school to prepare our school leavers and graduates to take advantage of the EU labour market which is on our door step.