Press Statement: Ireland’s EU journey gives hope to Europe
Ireland is currently marking the 50th anniversary of its EU membership, with the country officially acceding to the European Communities on 1 January 1973, following a referendum endorsed with overwhelming and widespread support the previous year.
Eurofound participated at European Parliament President Roberta Metsola's address to a joint sitting of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament and Senate) yesterday, organised as part of the commemoration. In a comprehensive speech, President Metsola emphasised how EU membership served as a powerful engine for Irish prosperity and progress.
President Metsola also acknowledged the multitude of challenges facing countries throughout Europe, including the wide-ranging and continuous impacts of the war in Ukraine, disruption to supply chains, the cost-of-living crisis, and climate change; while stressing that European unity was key to addressing these challenges, and the transformative force of EU values on European societies.
Speaking following President Metsola’s address, Eurofound Executive Director Ivailo Kalfin noted Ireland’s progress over the past 50 years, as well as the urgent need to address the current issues facing Europe.
‘Ireland’s economic and social transformation since it joined the European Economic Community 50 years ago is a positive reflection on the Irish people, as well as the EU, and European cooperation. In particular, the securing of peace and reconciliation on the island, supported in full by European partners, gives hope during these challenging times’, he said.
‘President Metsola highlighted in her address that the EU finds itself in unchartered waters, needing to simultaneously address the climate change emergency, war in Europe and a range of economic and social challenges, including high inflation and a cost-of-living crisis felt by families across the Union. Eurofound is actively working on these issues, supporting EU values of improving living and working conditions, and producing evidence-based research to assist policymakers throughout Europe to find solutions that, in particular, help the most vulnerable in society.’