Dublin 11 January 2013: Today, 11 January 2013, European Movement Ireland celebrates the 59th anniversary of the founding of the organisation. EM Ireland is the oldest Irish organisation dealing with the EU. Forty years on from Ireland’s accession to the EU, EM Ireland continues to work to campaign for every Irish person to get involved with the European Union and, by doing so, help shape it through reasoned, robust and fair debate. The organisation facilitates links between all sectors of society through advocacy campaigns, education programmes, training courses, information briefings and networking events.
EM Ireland celebrates its birthday eleven days after Ireland took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. 2013 marks the seventh time that Ireland has held the Presidency of the EU, which will run until 30 June 2013. During this time the Irish government has promised to put stability, jobs and growth at the centre of its agenda. A range of issues such as the EU budget the Single Market and CAP reform will also be under consideration.
The presidency offers Ireland an opportunity to improve its global image and the first six months of the year will see more than 170 official meetings take place in Ireland, with over 15,000 people visiting Ireland for the presidency and presidency related events.
2013 has also been designated as the European Year of Citizens and will see a number of initiatives across Europe to encourage citizens to engage with and help shape the future of the European Union. The European Year of Citizens was launched yesterday, Thursday 10 January, at Dublin City Hall by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD; the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore TD and President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. It was followed by a Citizens’ Dialogue, in which over 200 Irish citizens discussed EU issues with Vice-President of the European Commission, Ms Viviane Reding, and Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton.
During 2013, EM Ireland will work to provide an unbiased, independent voice on all elements of Ireland’s membership of, and relationship with, the EU. Communication between EU Institutions and EU citizens must be based on two-way dialogue and not simply top-down information provision.
EM Ireland aims to increase awareness and understanding of the issues affecting Irish citizens by providing factual information to individuals, public representatives, business and the media. EM Ireland will use its unique position as a non-governmental organisation within a pan-European network to ensure that the concerns and opinions of our members are inputted at all levels of the EU system. The organisation is committed to empowering Irish citizens to connect with Europe and 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.