As we celebrate the progress the European Union has made this Europe Day, we also have an opportunity to shape Europe’s future, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Neale Richmond, the Fine Gael spokesperson for European Union Affairs, said: “Today is Europe Day, when we celebrate peace and unity in Europe on the 71st anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, the speech that led to the European Union as we know it.
“The EU has become the embodiment of the most successful peace process in history.
“EU membership has been transformative for Ireland; leading to huge economic growth, societal modernisation and the protection of the environment.
“Our freedom to travel, live and work freely throughout the EU and the protections it affords us are often taken for granted, though Brexit has highlighted the value of our EU membership. Indeed, a recent European Movement poll shows 84% of Irish people are in favour of remaining in the EU,” he said.
The Dublin Rathdown TD said, “Fine Gael is the party of Europe; we brought Ireland into the Single Market and as part of Europe’s largest political group, the EPP, we have helped shape the EU into what it is today.
“When Ireland has needed European solidarity, the EU has always been forthcoming, but Europe is changing.
“Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic have undoubtedly had a profound impact on the EU and now is the time for the EU to modernise.
“The Conference on the Future of Europe will be launched in Ireland later this month, when residents across the EU can have their say on the issues that are important to them.
“This is our chance to engage with the EU on topics from the environment to the rule of law, social justice to digital transformation.
“The conference will run until Spring 2022 with digital platforms, online events, panels and conferences available for anyone who wishes to contribute to the EU’s future.
“You can find full details at: https://futureu.europa.eu/?locale=en.
“In order to ensure that the EU continues to work for us all, it is crucial that we all have our say on its future.
“The future of Europe is in our hands – let’s shape the future of the EU this Europe Day,” concluded Deputy Richmond.