European Year of Citizens 2013 launched in Dublin

25 January 2013

The European Year of Citizens 2013 has been launched in Dublin by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. The objective of the Year is to to ensure that people know their rights as EU citizens and how to exercise them to the full. The Year of Citizens will also encourage public debate about what EU citizenship means for the people of the EU. As well as acknowledging what has been achieved together in Europe, we need to focus on what the EU means for individual citizens. People should be aware of what membership of the EU means and how they can take the fullest benefit to improve their lives. And at a time when part of Europe’s response to shared challenges is through deeper integration, it is more important than ever that the Union be transparent, and accountable, to its citizens. (Taoiseach Enda Kenny) The launch was held in Dublin City Hall, in front of 200 people from all walks of life who had registered to take part in the first Citizens’ Dialogue of the Year. The debate, facilitated by broadcaster Pat Kenny, centred on the current economic crisis, the rights and benefits of EU citizenship and what the EU is likely to look like in the year 2020. The economic crisis has seen levels of public trust suffer at national and EU levels. We need to act to restore that trust and to empower our citizens. During the next six months, the Irish Presidency is committed to prioritising those measures on the EU agenda that can help to restore financial and economic stability in Europe and create the conditions for sustainable jobs and growth – issues that are of direct concern to all our citizens. (Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore) The Citizens’ Dialogue which followed the leaders’ opening statements was an extensive engagement between the participating citizens, the Vice-President of the European Commission Viviane Reding and the Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton. I am delighted to have this opportunity to engage with people on what the EU mean to us. This is the beginning of a process that will seek the views of citizens across Ireland and Europe on the kind of EU we want and our place in its future. Here we will hold a series of events across the country to talk about where we are and where we should be going. I'm very excited by the opportunity the Year of Citizens presents. (Minister of State Lucinda Creighton) The Citizens’ Dialogue has been organised by the European Movement Ireland on behalf of the European Commission and the Irish Government. It is part of a series of Dialogues taking place across Europe about the future of Europe.