The Joint Committee on European Union Affairs seeks your views on the Future of Europe.

Following the decision of one Member State to leave, Europe has reached a critical juncture in its history. At the same time, the other 27 Member States have started a process aimed at renewing the European Union and maximising the opportunities for its citizens.

The White Paper on the Future of Europe, presented by the European Commission on 1 March 2017, presents five possible directions for the EU’s future. It highlights its achievements, most notably its role in securing a stable peace on the continent of Europe. The White Paper also considers many of the challenges Europe now faces, including globalisation, new technologies, security and the rise of populism.

The European Commission highlights that we “must ensure we are not overwhelmed but rather that we seize the opportunities that these trends present”.
On the EU’s engagement with citizens, the White Paper notes that:

“This White Paper should open an honest and wide-ranging debate with citizens on how Europe should evolve in the years to come. Every voice should be heard. The European Commission, together with the European Parliament and Member States, will host a series of “Future of Europe Debates” across Europe’s national Parliaments, cities and regions. The ideas and determination of the hundreds of millions of Europeans will be the catalyst of our progress.”

Similarly, in its Rome Declaration adopted on 25 March 2017, the European Council pledged that it will “listen and respond to the concerns expressed by our citizens and will engage with our national parliaments”. The Joint Committee’s approach in response to this process, this Committee is to open an engagement with all citizens to allow for your voices to be heard.

Why is your say important?

It is essential to stress that while the Commission has put forward five possible paths, the Future of Europe is about you and telling us about the European Union you want. This is why the views of citizens are vital and the Committee is interested to hear you views on the White Paper and Reflection Papers, as well as different and alternative ideas that you may have.

The Committee wants to hear from all citizens, be they young or old, individuals or groups, living at home or abroad and of course, supportive or critical of the EU. We want to hear about what is working and is not working. We want to hear your ideas and suggestions about how the EU can be better and what opportunities are being missed.

As your representatives, not only do we ask your views, but we intend to represent them in the Future of Europe debates in Ireland and in Europe. We intend to put forward constructive, innovative and positive ideas for the EU’s future, and help ensure that Ireland is at the forefront of these discussions.

All views submitted will be considered in a Report of the Committee, planned to be published before the end of the year.

The White Paper and reflection papers

Some areas are covered by the White Paper and Reflection Papers published by the European Commission, listed below, but these areas are not exhaustive, with many issues not yet identified. All of these papers are intended to open the discussion on what Europe could be.

It is important to note the State of the Union speech to be delivered by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, on 13 September 2017 will address the Future of Europe process.


How to make a submission

Written submissions should be sent electronically by email (MS Word or equivalent) and should be sent to the following email address only: eu.committee@oireachtas.ie

For more details on making a submission to an Oireachtas Committee, read our submission guidelines.

For information about the Committee, its membership, terms of reference and contact details, see the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs homepage.

Closing date

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 3pm on Friday, 20 October 2017.

Important

(i)   The Committee cannot consider submissions which deal with matters outside its remit
(ii)  The Committee cannot consider submissions which deal with individual cases
(iii) Submissions sent to any other e-mail address may not be accepted.
(iv) Anonymous submissions cannot be accepted and will be rejected.
(v)  Petitions and Form letters may not be accepted or published.
(vi) Submissions made to a Committee may be published as received either as part of a Committee report, or separately, if the Committee decides to do so.