On Europe Day 2021, Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne TD highlights the estimated 700,000 jobs created in Ireland since joining the EU in 1973. It was Fianna Fáil in government that led Ireland into the then European Economic Community, the culmination of a long campaign over ten years.

Minister Byrne comments: “On Europe Day, I want to focus on the benefits of being a citizen of the EU that mean the most to me. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, an estimated 700,000 jobs have been created in Ireland since joining the EU. That’s akin to the number of hectares of trees in Ireland. And just like how trees are vital to our environment, jobs are vital to our society. Jobs take root in a community; helping families to provide for themselves, transforming the local area, and provide lasting effects to the society around them.”

Other areas that Minister Byrne wishes to highlight are education and travel. Minister Byrne continues: “I have seen the value of the Erasmus+ programme over the years. Around 50,000 people in Ireland have done the Erasmus+ programme since 1987. As the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe, the personal value of Erasmus+ is unparalleled. Through this programme, I know so many people who have learned so much from their European counterparts while getting the chance to live in a multicultural environment, with the added possibility of getting to learn a new European language.

“Thanks to Europe, we have free travel to over 27 countries. So many of us have fond memories of European trips. From family trips to France and city breaks in Barcelona, to interrailing in Berlin and honeymoons in Italy, we have such fond memories because of barrier free travel within Europe– all thanks to the fundamental principle of the free movement of people.”

Europe Day marks the start of Europe Week and a series of events, highlighting the importance of Ireland’s membership of the EU, including the launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe on the 14th May. The Conference on the Future of Europe will be the voice of the people setting out our vision of Europe for the next generation. A more prosperous Ireland in a more prosperous Europe is our goal. By working with citizens Fianna Fáil will be a part of renewing Europe and making a continent where economic growth, environmental sustainability, fair competition and responsibility go hand in hand. You can learn more about the Conference on the Future of Europe on the EMI website europeanmovement.ie