Higgins criticised for EU meeting walkout

Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins has been criticised for walking out of a meeting with the EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner.

The incident happened during talks on Ireland's economic crisis between Olli Rehn and the Irish MEPs in Strasbourg this morning.

The Commissioner asked for the discussions to be kept confidential as some of the issues he wanted to speak about were not in the public domain.

Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell accused Higgins of being petty and self-serving.

"That (the meeting) allows us as MEPs - all of us that stayed - to go back to our different groups here and to our political parties at home better informed to participate in the debate.

"Any of us could have walked out and made protest statements," Mitchell added. "This is not a time for that. This is a time for putting the country's interests first, our children's interests first, the unemployed first… not Joe Higgins first."

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