Ireland and Europe 2010: An Unwelcome Critical Juncture?

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Publication Date 2010
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Ireland’s relationship with the EU over the last 10 years was characterised by episodes of active engagement, elite indifference verging on hostility, and an uncertain and
questioning popular discourse on European Integration.

Following the IMF/EU/ECB bailout in 2010, Ireland together with Greece finds itself in an ‘at risk’ and ‘on watch’ category, a member state in trouble.

The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it traces the different phases of engagement with the EU over the last ten years in order to sketch the evolution of Ireland’s European policy. Second, it analyses the impact of the economic crisis on Ireland’s relationship with the Union and third it explores the impact of the Lisbon treaty on how the EU does its business.

The interaction and intersection of the economic crisis and the new rules of the game in Brussels have altered the dynamic of Ireland’s engagement with the EU. Ireland has to confront Europe. The word confront is used is a deliberate manner as Ireland and the Irish electorate have to confront how the European and the national interact, intersect, clash and combine.

From the perspective of EU institutions and the other member states, Ireland was transformed very quickly from model member state to a problem partner. Europe’s periphery which had displayed a convergence with the core as part of the internal market was once again facing severe budgetary and economic challenges. Ireland found itself bracketed with the PIGS (Portugal, Italy/Ireland, Greece and Spain).

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