On June 6th, iASK hosted a lecture by H. E. Ronan Gargan, Ambassador of Ireland to Hungary. The lecture was a part of our Future of Europe in a Global Context series that brings together prominent international scholars and public figures. The lecture was be accompanied by an exhibition dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s membership in the EU.
H. E. Ronan Gargan talked about Ireland’s perspective on the future of Europe and the European Union (EU) after 50 years of membership. He emphasised the transformative impact the membership has had on his country. Ireland highly values the EU’s focus on the economy, climate and energy, and EU enlargement, particularly in the context of the conflict in Ukraine. The nation has consistently shown strong support for EU membership, with over 80% of the population favouring it, making it the highest turnout for referendums or other votes in Ireland. The decision to join the EU 50 years ago enabled Ireland’s sovereignty and brought about significant transformation. Ireland embraces equality, diversity, and cooperation among nations, recognizing that the success of the EU directly contributes to the success of its member states. The EU’s commitment to peace, especially in Ireland, is deeply appreciated, and Ireland aspires to inspire other countries, from Ukraine to the Balkans, with its own transformation, said Gargan.
In his speech, H. E. Ronan Gargan focused specifically on the future of the EU. He said that Ireland believes in two foundational principles. Firstly, the EU is built on a set of values and the rule of law, encompassing dignity, freedom, democracy, and human rights. Secondly, Europe must have a global outreach, engaging with the world, supporting peace, and promoting sustainable development while upholding human rights and international law. These principles guide Ireland’s vision for the EU’s future. In terms of economic development, Ireland recognizes the importance of the single market in levelling the playing field for member states and fostering global prosperity. The EU’s leadership in combating climate change is highly valued, with a focus on the green transition and assisting developing countries in their fight against climate change. Enlargement of the EU is seen as crucial to strengthening the union, with Ireland welcoming new communities and aspiring for a future based on shared values. Gargan said that Ireland emphasizes the need for the EU to prioritize delivering for its citizens and acknowledges that the greatest challenges faced today require collective action at the global level.