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Ireland’s strategic agenda for the next three years is complex. Navigating the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and examining Ireland’s position within the EU of 27, will demand reflection and analysis. In an EU of 27 Member States Ireland will encounter both new challenges and new opportunities.

To contribute to meeting these challenges, the IIEA, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is embarking upon a programme of research, publications, events and public engagement. This project will focus on understanding the policy challenges for Ireland in the EU, whilst taking account of developments across the EU27 Member States, and within the EU Institutions.

The Future of the EU27 is a three-year project, which aims to enhance debate examining Ireland’s position in the EU of 27 by providing in-depth analysis of emerging trends, in order to gain insight into the issues where there may be opportunities for policy alignment between Ireland and other EU countries.

Taking the Bratislava Declaration as a starting point, The Future of the EU27 will look at the various contributions to the Future of Europe debate emanating from the EU Institutions and from Member States. Combined with consideration of the policy priorities of other EU Member States this research will contribute to more nuanced understanding of where Ireland’s strategic interests lie.

It is crucial that these debates do not take place in a vacuum. Now is the time to engage the public in debate and to provide insight and analysis as the basis for discussion. Throughout this project, the IIEA will seek to share our research widely, and engage with diverse audiences in debating and developing Ireland’s role in the Future of Europe.

Building greater public understanding of the issues shaping the future direction of the EU27 will enable Ireland to engage fully in debates on our own role and priorities.

The objectives of the Future of the EU27 project are:

  • To enhance the debate on Ireland’s role in the EU of 27 Member States by contributing in-depth research and nuanced policy analysis
  • To ensure this research reaches diverse audiences across Ireland
  • To engage with partner think tanks across Europe to enhance understanding of other European countries’ policy priorities

To meet these objectives the Future of the EU27 project will have a research strand and a public engagement strand.

Research Strand:

 The IIEA has brought together a Future of the EU27 expert group, made up of former diplomats, EU policy experts and academics, who will lead the project’s work. Together their expertise and experience will drive the research and policy analysis that form the core of this project.

The research focus of the project will principally be on:

  • Future of the EU27 speaker series of visiting politicians and policymakers that will be open to the public
  • Future of the EU27 publication series of in-depth policy analysis papers. Each paper will be complemented by accessible, shareable content, including infographics and motion-graphic videos
  • Engagement with think tanks across Europe to inform understanding of perspectives across the EU27 Member States

Public Engagement Strand:

To encourage debate around Ireland’s role in the EU of 27 this project aims to reach out to new audiences, who may not have encountered IIEA research previously.  This will be achieved through:

  • A series of regional events open to the public
  • Expansion of the IIEA’s Young Professionals Network, a unique forum for young professionals to engage on international affairs
  • Development of an ‘Emerging Voices on the Future of Europe’ panel which will inform and review the research of the Future of the EU27 expert group

Together, the elements of this project aim to provide policymakers, thought leaders, and citizens in Ireland with an enhanced understanding of the issues at stake over the coming three years, as the European Union adjusts to the UK withdrawal, and determines its future direction