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Third Level Education

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (359)

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

359. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his Department will have the planned additional scholarships for the College of Europe designed to put Irish persons in a position to win posts in the European institutions in place for the coming academic year. [29165/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

On 6 May last, Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne launched “A Career for EU”, Ireland’s new sSrategy to increase our representation among the staff of the EU’s Institutions and Agencies. 

Ireland is facing a “demographic cliff” in its representation among the staff of the EU’s Institutions, as many senior Irish officials will soon retire. Not enough Irish people are applying for and securing permanent posts in the EU Institutions to make up for their departure.

It is very important that Irish citizens continue to serve in the EU Institutions at all levels and all policy areas. By doing so, Irish officials will remain at the heart of Europe and use their unique experience and capabilities to contribute to the development of the Union.

The new Strategy contains a number of commitments to increase awareness of EU careers. It also sets out a number of concrete measures designed to support and assist Irish people interested in a career in the European Union. 

The Strategy has a commitment to increase the supply of suitable candidates for EU roles by increasing the number of scholarships we provide to Irish students studying at the College of Europe to at least ten. At present, three Irish people are granted College of Europe scholarships annually by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. 

From 2022, the new Strategy will require additional funding amounting to €1.5 million. We will seek a proposed additional €200,000 to cover the additional seven scholarships at the College of Europe. 

The call for applications for the coming academic year at the College of Europe (2021/2022) was launched in late 2020, prior to the launch of the Strategy, and three scholarships have already been allocated to prospective students on the basis of the funds available for 2021. The increase in funding available for additional scholarships at the College of Europe will therefore come into effect in advance of the opening of the selection process for the academic year 2022/2023.

The timeline for the 2022/2023 selection process will be announced in October of this year. It is expected that the deadline for applications will close in January 2021, with interviews taking place throughout the spring. Information on the timeline for this selection process will be made available on the College of Europe’s website later this year.

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