The Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton TD, launched the European Year of Citizens at an event organised by the European Commission in Brussels on 22 January.
Speaking in Brussels the Minister said: “I see this year as providing an opportunity to recall and celebrate the rights and benefits we enjoy as citizens of the European Union. However the opportunity is greater than that. This year is our chance to have a pan-European debate about what it means to be a citizen of this European Union and the kind of future we want to realise within it.”
I see this year as providing an opportunity to recall and celebrate the rights and benefits we enjoy as citizens of the European Union.
“The economic crisis has seen levels of public trust suffer at national and EU levels. We cannot deny this fact. We need to act to restore that trust and to empower our citizens. In saying ‘we’ I’m not just referring to politicians across Europe. The responsibility also falls equally on you as members and leaders of a wide range of non-governmental bodies. I would hope that the European Year of Citizens can provide a platform for a real and constructive role in encouraging public discussion about the European Union. We need greater engagement by citizens across the EU on the issues that affect us all today. I intend to carry forward this debate in the coming months across Ireland,” said Minister Creighton.
The European Year of Citizens 2013 is dedicated to the rights that come with EU citizenship and will encourage dialogue between all levels of government, civil society and business at events and conferences around Europe to discuss those EU rights and build a vision of how the EU should be in 2020.