Press Release: 13 May be Unlucky for Some, But it Could be Ireland’s Lucky Number…

EM Ireland banishes “triskaidekaphobia” in favour of optimism for the opportunities on offer to Ireland in 2013

Following the launch of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU earlier this week, the Dublin-based not-for-profit, independent organisation, European Movement Ireland (EM Ireland), is today calling on all Irish citizens to banish any phobias they may have about the number 13 and instead to embrace the opportunities on offer in the coming year by being informed about, and engaged with, Ireland’s relationship with the EU .

2013 marks the seventh time that Ireland has held the Presidency of the EU, which will run until the 30 June 2013.  This year also marks the fortieth anniversary of Irish accession to the EU, which Ireland joined along with Denmark and the UK in 1973.  And with 2013 designated as the European Year of Citizens, there has never been a better time for Irish citizens to reflect on these past forty years of Irish EU membership, with an eye to what the coming forty years will bring.  The first chance for this kind of engagement will come next Thursday, 10 January, at the launch of the European Year of Citizens’ in Dublin City Hall by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD; the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore TD and President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso.  The launch will be followed by a Citizens’ Dialogue – a chance for over 200 Irish citizens to discuss EU issues with Vice-President of the European Commission, Ms Viviane Reding, and Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton TD.

Speaking in Dublin today, European Movement Ireland Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, highlighted the organisation’s commitment to empowering Irish citizens to connect with Europe, stressing the point that: “the time has come to replace a ‘them’ and ‘us’ mentality with a more robust, informed debate on what it means to be both a citizen of Ireland and a citizen of Europe.  EM Ireland will be providing a forum for citizens across to the country to do this with a series of regional debates and town hall meetings taking place over the coming months.

“There is no denying the fact that Ireland’s relationship with the EU has undergone significant challenges over the past number of years.  Over the coming six months, Ireland will be under a spotlight at the centre of European decision-making – this time however, the focus will not be on this country’s economic woes.  Rather, we will be judged on our ability to run a focused and successful Presidency; an area in which we already have an excellent reputation.  This Presidency represents an excellent opportunity to rebuild Ireland’s image on the world stage – our chance to show the world that we are recovering and that ‘brand Ireland’ remains strong.

“The potential benefits of the Presidency are not solely limited to improving Ireland’s global image.  If the Irish government can successfully deliver on an agenda very much focused on ‘Stability, Jobs and Growth’, the positive knock-on benefits will be evident across all sectors of the economy and society, not only in Ireland but across the EU.”

Ends.

 

Notes for Editors

Interesting Facts about Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU

The Irish Presidency will take place against a backdrop of a number of political and economic issues:

  • This Presidency will mark the seventh time Ireland has held the role since accession in 1973
  • The Irish Presidency will host in excess of 170 official meetings, with over 15,000 visitors expected to travel to the country on official and unofficial Presidency business  during  the six months
  • The 2013 Irish Presidency is expected to cost the country approx. €60 million, with an additional €10 million allocated to security, a significant reduction on €110 million 2004 Presidency price tag
  • Of the six Presidencies between 2012 and 2014, only Ireland and Denmark have previous experience of holding a Presidency
  • The European Parliament now has a co-decision role on the vast majority of European legislation with wider powers in relation to international agreements.  Ministers and Working Group Chairs will need to work more closely with the European Parliament than during Ireland’s previous Presidency in 2004
  • 2013 marks the final full year of work for both the current European Parliament and the Barroso Commission – in 2014 European Parliament elections will take place and a new College of Commissioners will be appointed
  • Elections in several EU Member States, including a general election in Italy in February 2013 and federal election in Germany in the Autumn will have an impact on the Presidency

 

Key Issues for the Irish Presidency

  • Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)
  • The Single Market
  • Continuing developments in Euro area
  • Progression of the Atlantic Strategy
  • CAP and CFP reform
  • Review of the European External Action Service
  • Continuing enlargement process with Iceland, Turkey, Montenegro and Macedonia
  • Croatian accession on 1 July 2013 and collaboration with Lithuanian Presidency (July – December 2013)
  • JHA/Implementation of the Stockholm Programme
  • Completion of EU2020 flagship issues including the Digital Agenda.  A Digital Assembly conference will take place in Dublin on 19 and 20 June 2013
  • Development, humanitarian policy – particularly the continuing global hunger crisis and international climate change negotiations

 

About European Movement Ireland

Founded in 1954, European Movement Ireland is a not-for-profit, voluntary, membership organisation working to make the connection between Irish people and the European Union.  For more information about European Movement Ireland’s campaigns, programmes, information briefings and events, visit www.europeanmovement.ie.

Through education programmes and advocacy work, European Movement campaigns for every Irish person to get involved with the European Union and, by doing so, help shape it through reasoned, robust and informed debate

 

Available for comment

EM Ireland’s Executive Director, Noelle O’Connell is available for interview and comment.  Please contact EM Ireland Communications Manager, Jenny Flynn, on 01 662 5815, 085 111 5836 or email jenny@europeanmovement.ie.

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