The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., has encouraged everyone to get involved in a new citizens’ dialogue on the future of Europe. Speaking at the launch this morning at the Science Gallery in TCD of a new future of Europe initiative, the Taoiseach insisted that the future of the European Union is Ireland’s future:
“The Union’s key strength is that we can achieve more together. Ireland has helped to build the European Union, the shared space in which we and 500 million others live. It is our home, and it will continue to be. Irish citizens hold strong views on how it should continue to grow and develop and it is crucial that we ask our citizens what they want.”
Between now and 9 May 2018 (Europe Day) the Government will hold a series of public and sectoral meetings, hearing the views in person and on-line of members of the public and representative organisations. The intention is that the views expressed on Europe will provide an input into the Irish Government’s contribution to the broader future of Europe debate.
Speaking at the launch the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D. said:
“It’s just over 40 years since we joined the EU and in another 40 years no single European Member State will have more than 1% of the world’s population. This is why we need to stick together with our European friends. Europe is best placed to serve our needs and project our values in an increasingly competitive and multi-polar world. But, if Europe is to find its voice in the world, we need you to give voice first to your ideas and to give us your input on Ireland’s contribution to this future of Europe debate.”
The Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee T.D., urged interested parties to get involved in the debate and added:
“Every organisation, even successful ones like the European Union, need to go through a process of renewal. The European Union is 60 years old. We believe we need to work on a new vision of an attractive Union that the citizens of Europe can trust and support.”
Watch our short video to learn more about getting involved.
Note for Editors
Following the publication of a White Paper on the Future of Europe by the European Commission in March 2017 and the publication in October of a ‘Leaders’ Agenda’ by the President of the European Council, a debate across the Member States on the future of the European Union is now underway. The process is expected to be completed before the European Parliament elections in 2019 and Ireland’s citizens’ dialogue will run until 9 May 2018 (Europe Day) in order to allow time for contributions from the wider public to inform Ireland’s input into the wider debate.
A website – www.dfa.ie/eu – and a twitter handle – #futureofeurope – have been set up to facilitate the process. The website gives access to key documents and other resources.