“Ireland and the future of the European Union” – National Debate 2013

Notice Inviting Submissions

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Union Affairs is tasked with considering strategic matters relating to Ireland’s membership of the European Union and carrying out an oversight role in relation to how Ireland meets its obligations of EU membership. The Committee has previously undertaken important work on Ireland’s engagement in the European Union, and the role of the Oireachtas in European affairs, prior to and following Ireland’s ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. Most recently, in 2012, the Committee led a national debate in the run up to the Fiscal Treaty referendum.

The last number of months has seen the emergence of an important debate at European level and in the Member States regarding the future shape of the European Union. A number of important steps towards greater economic coordination have already been taken recently, notably with the introduction of the annual European Semester process in the EU. Further significant integration towards a genuine economic and monetary union in the euro area is envisaged, and debate about greater democratic legitimacy and accountability, and even a possible future political union, are also beginning to take place.  

Questions abound about how far further integration should go, whether the appropriate level for action in certain policy areas is at the European or national level, how democratic legitimacy and accountability in the EU can be ensured, how the integrity of the EU can be maintained despite different degrees of integration in some areas, and how citizens’ engagement with Europe can be strengthened. In addition, the United Kingdom, a key partner for Ireland, is now considering its future relationship with the European Union.

Against this background and at the beginning of 2013, in the context of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the fortieth anniversary of accession to what has become the European Union, and the European Year of Citizens, the Joint Committee wishes to launch a national debate on the future of the European Union and Ireland’s relationship with it. In doing so, the Committee wishes to build on the exceptional work undertaken by the National Forum on Europe from 2001 to 2009, and set the debate in the current context.

The Committee intends to focus on the implications for Ireland of an evolving European Union, and will structure its work for the coming months in modules as follows:

  • Financial integration
  • Budgetary integration
  • Economic policy integration
  • Democratic legitimacy and accountability, and political integration
  • The United Kingdom’s relationship with the EU – implications for Ireland


For the first phase of its work, the Committee is writing to practitioners, stakeholders and interested parties, inviting them to appear before it in public session to discuss the implications for Ireland of an evolving European Union under the above five headings.

For the second phase of its work, the Committee wishes to invite written submissions from individuals and organisations on the above, following which it may decide to invite contributors to appear before it in public session.

Written submissions should be titled “Ireland and the future of the European Union” and be made in writing to:

Joint Committee on European Union Affairs
Kildare House,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.

Or by e-mail to: eu.committee@oireachtas.ie. If possible, submissions should be sent electronically.



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