The Future of the EU27

EU27 Analysis

The Future of the EU27 project is a three-year programme (2017–2020) supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It aims to enhance debate on the future of Ireland in an EU of 27 and to gain insight into the major challenges facing Ireland and the EU by providing in-depth analysis of emerging trends.

20th December 2019


As part of the Future of the EU27 Project, the Institute has conducted a series of five-minute interviews with visiting keynote speakers at the IIEA
17th October 2019

Key Hearings at the European Parliament

This series of briefings on the hearings of the Commissioners proposed to the European Parliament by Ursula von der Leyen, analyses the performance of a number of key candidates and identifies their most important policy priorities. These priorities reflect to varying degrees the original mandate issued by President-elect von der Leyen. It also evaluates the relevance of these priorities for Ireland.
20th June 2019

Emerging Voices – A Future of Europe Anthology

The IIEA Emerging Voices group brings together a diverse group of emerging leaders, from a range of different backgrounds. Since 2018 the group has met on a monthly basis to share their views on Ireland’s place in the future of the EU and to further their understanding of European affairs.
8th February 2019

EU Explorer: Mapping the Future of Europe

The EU Explorer is a new interactive tool, created by the IIEA as part of our Future of the EU27 project. This interactive country profile map was developed to build an understanding of the wide variety of views and policy positions across EU Member States.
13th October 2017

The IIEA Future of EU 27 Project

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.
7th April 2020

What does COVID-19 mean for the MFF?

The COVID-19 outbreak has precipitated a global economic crisis, with the impact on Europe particularly acute. What does the the crisis mean for negotiations on the EU’s long-term budget?
7th April 2020

New Moves: Opening up EU Prospects for North Macedonia and Albania

On 25 March 2020, EU Member States reached a long-awaited agreement in favour of opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.
2nd April 2020

A Strong Social Europe for a Just Transition

This briefing by Tony Brown examines the key initiatives put forward by the Commission to create a more inclusive, fairer and people-centered social policy, which leaves no one behind and to emphasize the social element in Europe’s social market economy. The briefing also assesses the significance of these proposals for Ireland.This paper is part of the Future of the EU27 Project, which is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

EU27 Publications

10th September 2019

Reconciling Foreign Policy and Development Priorities in the EU Budget (MFF 2021-2027)

This brief will outline the shape of the proposed NDICI and consider the positions and concerns of a number of key stakeholders, including the EU institutions, Member States and NGOs.
17th May 2018

IIEA Publication: EU enlargement to the Western Balkans: towards 2025 & beyond

On Thursday 17 May, EU leaders and leaders from the 6 Western Balkans partners: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo will meet in Sofia at a summit hosted by Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council. The theme of the summit is connectivity and it aims to inject new energy into EU/Balkans relations and to improve relations within the region.Although the European Union’s enlargement policy is widely viewed as one of its most successful policy areas, the relationship between widening and deepening the EU has not always run smoothly. The expansion of the EU West (1970s), South (1980s), North (1990s) and East (2000s) consecutively over five decades while also pursuing ever closer integration has led to “enlargement fatigue” in the current member states and to enlargement being put on the back burner.However, on 6 February 2018, the European Commission published a new strategy paper on EU enlargement that set out how the European Union might engage with and provide an enhanced accession perspective for the six states in the Western Balkans. This was followed on 17 April 2018 by individual country reports which have injected new momentum to the enlargement process and provides a roadmap for the six states to converge towards the European Union model of integration.An IIEA paper by John O’Brennan entitled: EU enlargement to the Western Balkans: towards 2025 & beyond examines the background to the Commission’s decision and the main issues at stake for both Ireland and the EU. It provides an interesting and timely analysis of the potential for the six Balkan countries to achieve EU membership post-2025 and beyond and identifies hurdles to clear on in order to attain this goal and to preserve peace in the EU’s backyard. Both Bulgaria and Austria who hold the current and next Council Presidencies of the EU are championing the cause of Balkan enlargement, and the outcome of the summit in Sofia will indicate whether or not there is a credible perspective of EU accession for these countries in the future.John O’Brennan is one of Ireland’s leading academics on European Integration and the EU institutions. He is Director of the Maynooth Centre for European and Eurasian Studies. He is also Vice President of the Irish Association for Contemporary European Studies. His research has primarily focused on the process and politics of the EU’s Enlargement policy.
27th March 2018

Shaping social policy: what role for the EU?

In this paper, which is part of the Future of the EU27 Project, IIEA Senior Fellow Tony Brown examines two key questions for European social policy: “What challenges should our countries tackle together?” and “What added value can EU level instruments provide in this struggle?”
7th March 2018

The EU’s role in security and defence after Brexit

On 14 December 2017, the EU formally launched a new framework for improved cooperation in the field of security and defence. Ireland was among the 25 Member States to sign up for the new ‘Permanent Structured Cooperation’, or ‘PESCO’ as it is commonly known, a defence cooperation arrangement requiring more rigorous collective oversight and sustained financial contribution from the Member States. This agreement reflects the fact that defence is now high on the agenda as the EU adapts to a future without the United Kingdom as a member state.In this policy paper, Patrick Keatinge, Co-Chair of the IIEA’s Security and Defence Group and Professor Emeritus at Trinity College Dublin, explains the context of PESCO within the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, and argues that it does not threaten Ireland’s policy of military neutrality.

EU27 Past Events

26th February 2020

Engaging Citizens on the Future of Europe

Vice-President Šuica explores the dual themes of her mandate, Democracy and Demography, and the significance of these for the Conference on the Future of Europe.
11th February 2020

Citizens First: The New Commission’s Approach to Citizen Engagement

Director-General Ahrenkilde Hansen delivers a comprehensive overview of the new European Commission’s strengthened approach to citizen engagement.
16th December 2019

The New Power Game in Brussels

Dr Catherine Day explores the changing power dynamics between the EU institutions in Brussels and give a strategic overview of changing power relations between the Member States.
9th December 2019

What Next for EU Enlargement?

Professor John O’Brennan (Maynooth University) and Pat Kelly (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) discuss recent developments in the debate on EU enlargement to the Western Balkans.