The Government has today (Wednesday, 17 April 2019) published a new National Statement on the European Union. The National Statement is the Government’s response to the citizens’ dialogues on the future of Europe conducted across Ireland in 2018 and it will inform Ireland’s contribution to the Union’s next five-year Strategic Agenda.
Preparation of the National Statement has been a whole-of-Government exercise and priorities identified include:
• the completion of a Single Market fit for the digital age;
• a Union that is a global leader in finding solutions to climate change;
• a Union that is also ready for the social and economic challenges of the digital transformation;
• a more effective political dialogue between the European Union and Africa where the Union plays a central role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals; and
• a deep and comprehensive partnership across a range of areas of importance to Ireland in the future EU-UK relationship.
Welcoming the launch of the National Statement, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, said:
“The Single Market is one of the Union’s greatest achievements but it is incomplete and we need to make it fit for the digital age. The digital transformation will accelerate over the next five years and Europe can become a world leader, if it invests now in the necessary research and innovation. Greater interconnectedness will empower communities and enhance the quality of our lives. But artificial intelligence and automation will also pose challenges for society. It will change the way we live and will disrupt the labour market. The new Strategic Agenda will, therefore, need to anticipate these developments and protect the most vulnerable.”
Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for European Affairs, led the citizens’ dialogue process and spoke today about the value of citizens’ engagement:
“The citizens’ dialogue process has been invaluable in the preparation of our new National Statement. Throughout the process, people told us they want to be part of a Union that continues to do what it does well, but is also ready to meet the new challenges that are better faced together. Most of all they told us they want to be part of a Union that is fair. Public support for the Union is exceptionally high in Ireland and I am more convinced than ever that we must continue to work with the Member States and elected representatives to engage with our citizens on the policies and achievements of the EU.”