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Future of the European Union - FAQs

Is Ireland still a member of the EU?

Yes. Ireland remains fully committed to our membership of the EU and the Eurozone. The EU is a home which we have helped build.

EU membership remains central to the success of our open, competitive economy and has been the foundation for much of the social progress we have made over the last four decades. The Irish people have consistently endorsed our membership of the EU.

Membership of the European Union has brought great benefits to our country and remains profoundly in our interests. We value our access to the single market and the benefits our exporters derive from EU trade agreements with other countries.

There are some challenges, particularly in relation to Brexit, migration, and also combatting terrorism. However, the Irish Government believes the best way to solve our collective problems is by working together.

More broadly, we value being part of a Union with other like-minded democracies which share our values and interests.              


Will the EU still use the English language?


This was confirmed by the European Commission in June 2016.


What about the Future of Europe?

Though the referendum outcome was disappointing for the EU, the 27 other Member States are continuing to work closely together.

The outcome of the UK referendum, as well as a number of other challenges facing the Union, has led to a period of reflection about our renewal and future direction. Rather than setting new goals, the Union needs to communicate better and deliver concrete results in areas which directly affect the lives of its citizens -  such as the single market, jobs, growth and investment, as well as security.

The Irish Government is confident that we can work together as 27 countries to deal with these challenges.

There is a renewed European unity around important issues such as climate change, trade and our common future. Support for EU membership has increased across all Member States; In Ireland support is now over 80%.

It is important to remember the enormous achievements of the Union over very many years. For all its flaws, the EU remains the best structure for advancing prosperity, promoting peace, and confronting the many and complex challenges presented by the 21st century.


What is Ireland doing to help shape the Future of the European Union?

A debate is now underway across Europe on how best to address the challenges of a rapidly changing world.  Influencing the future direction of Europe should always be a priority for Ireland and this is all the more important for us after Brexit.

Our starting point in this debate is to focus on the needs and concerns of our citizens. Between now and 9 May 2018 (Europe Day), we are planning a series of regional meetings, engagement with key stakeholders and other events which will facilitate your input into the wider European debate.

We want you to be involved in this debate and would encourage you to visit our dedicated Future of Europe website, and explore our Get Involved section to learn how and when to make a contribution in person or on-line.

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, in partnership with the European Movement Ireland, is hosting a series a Citizens’ Dialogues around the country to hear your views on the future direction of the EU. We want to hear your priorities so we can incorporate your point of view into our National position. We encourage you to get involved. Further information is available.


What are the opportunities for Ireland with the UK leaving the EU?

There will be opportunities for Ireland arising from Britain’s decision to leave the EU and we will seek to maximise all possible opportunities.

We continue, through the IDA, to promote Ireland as a location of choice for companies and talented people who are looking to establish or expand operations in what will be the only English-speaking country within the EU and the Eurozone.

We will continue to implement our clear strategy for driving growth in the financial services sector and avail of any opportunities that might arise.


What will happen to EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living in the EU?

Agreement reached in Phase 1 of the negotiations between the UK and the EU provides certainty to EU citizens in the UK - as well as citizens of the three EEA countries and Switzerland - that they will be able to carry on living and working in the UK as they have done with their rights enshrined in UK law and enforced by British courts. UK citizens in the EU will also retain their current rights.

The proposal provides a cut-off date of 29 March 2019 for those to be covered by the rules. EU citizens legally resident in the UK and UK citizens in the EU will be able to leave for up to five years before losing the rights they will have as part of the proposed Brexit deal.

Full details of the UK-EU agreement are available at: