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The EU and You

Ireland joined the EU on January 1st 1973.  The start of our 7th Presidency falls on our 40th anniversary. Through good times and challenging times, EU membership has helped to transform the Irish structural and economic landscape over the last four decades. 


With the funding it has received from the EU since 1973, Ireland has improved its infrastructure, the environment and urban and rural regeneration. And the EU has changed the lives of our citizens, by helping to generate jobs, improve our education, and strengthen the role of women in the workplace.

We have provided a more detailed analysis of the impact of the EU in Ireland, and of the contribution which Ireland has made to the EU. 

The EU’s citizens must play an integral role in deciding the direction the EU takes. The Irish understand that more than most: there have been 8 EU-related referenda in Ireland since 1972. Ireland is proud to hold the Presidency in 2013, the EU Year of Citizens, and to launch the Year in Dublin on 10 January.

  • Ireland: candidate country. Formal negotiations, 1971
  • Signing legal texts on Irish membership, January 1972
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Garret FitzGerald during Ireland’s first EU Presidency, 1975.
  • The Delors Commission, 1987. Irish Commissioner Peter Sutherland introduced the Erasmus programme.
  • First major reform of the Common Agriculture Policy in 1992, led by Irish Commissioner Ray MacSharry.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Bertie Ahern signs the Maastricht Treaty, 1992.
  • President Pat Cox and Commission President Romano Prodi celebrate the millionth Erasmus student, 2002.
  • The Euro is introduced in Ireland in January 2002
  • The reunion of former Irish Commissioners to the EU, 2002
  • Europe Day 2004.
  • Campaigning for a Yes vote for the Treaty of Lisbon 2007 (former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald and Commission President Barroso)
  • Key Irish figures in the EU, Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn and Secretary General of the European Commission Catherine Day,2010.
  • Ireland and the EU working together. Conference of Presidents visit to Dublin, November 2012.
  • Europe Week

    Ireland: harnessing the potential of EU membership

    Ireland's Contribution to the EU

    European Year of Citizens

    Ireland and the EU: Forty Years of Membership

    European Year of Citizens events

    EU Consumer Rights