What has the EU ever done for us?

Past event In Person

Public Event : What has the EU ever done for us?


The European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme and Dublin City University invited citizens to meet and discuss their views with inspiring young leaders across many sectors. This event took place at The Helix, (DCU Campus, Collins Avenue, Glasnevin, Dublin 9).

The European project, spanning over 70 years, has undergone significant changes since its inception. But have you ever wondered about its true impact? Euroscepticism looms large in EU member states, suggesting that the Union’s elites may be pursuing European unification against the majority’s wishes. Are they really disconnected from the people they serve?

As Ireland celebrates its 50th anniversary of EU membership, it’s time to reflect on what this membership has meant for Ireland, its citizens, its businesses and its social dynamics. Let’s talk about the tangible advantages: protection of fundamental rights, economic transformations, improved health and safety standards, environmental regulations and increased trade have all been fruits of EU membership. However, how evenly are these benefits distributed? How has your part of the country been impacted? What triggers the feeling of being left behind or neglected?

Even following Brexit, the EU continues to attract new countries seeking to join the group of 27 current member states, including Ukraine, Moldova, Albania and Montenegro, to name a few. Are these countries genuinely drawn to EU ideals and principles, from democracy to the protection of the rule of law, or are there other geopolitical considerations at play? How will the potential integration of new countries affect the EU’s future political and economic development?

In addition to contemplating the future of EU enlargement, it is essential to critically assess the EU’s current state and its political community. How effective is the decision-making process within the Union? Is the EU transparent and accountable? How does the EU represent you? What steps can be taken to bridge the gaps between the EU institutions and yourself, and foster a stronger sense of citizen ownership and participation?

Leaders in attendance included Federico Fabbrini, Full Professor at Dublin City University (DCU) and Founding Director of the Brexit Institute; Francesca Cavallo, best-selling author of ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls’; Malcolm Byrne, Irish Senator; Emine Dzhaparova, Ukrainian First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs; Valentina Diouf, professional volleyball player; Markus Freiburg, Founder and CEO of Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE); Giulia Bonfà, Lieutenant Commander in the Italian Navy General Staff; Daire Hickey, Managing Partner at 150 Bond; Oleksandra Matviichuk, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Jesse Klaver, Leader of the Green Dutch Party; Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Deputy Speaker of the Latvian Parliament; and Matthew Caruana Galizia, investigative journalist and Director of The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation. Read the young leaders’ profiles here.

This event took place in Dublin, Ireland as part of the EYL40 seminar, The emperor has no clothes. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook, and join the #EYL40Dublin discussion!

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Public event – What has the EU ever done for us?
Get to know the European Young Leaders over a coffee reception
Kick-off remarks

Kick-off remarks

Photo of Emine Dzhaparova
Emine Dzhaparova

Ukrainian First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and 2023 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Emine Dzhaparova

Emine Dzhaparova serves as the First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. She is responsible for policy planning, cooperation with international organisations, public diplomacy and the Ukrainian Institute’s activities, representing Ukrainian culture to the world. She joined the MFA as the First Deputy Minister with the idea to establish the Crimea Platform aimed at the de-occupation of the Crimean peninsula. Today, this unique diplomatic tool unites over 60 countries and international organisations. Dzhaparova is also a Chairperson of the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO and coordinates cooperation with the organisation. Prior to this, she was a journalist in Crimea and witnessed the 2014 occupation of the peninsula by Russian invaders. As a Crimean Tatar, she has dedicated her life to the liberation of her homeland and her compatriots. After being forced to leave the peninsula, Dzhaparova served as the first deputy minister of information policy of Ukraine and considerably contributed to strengthening Ukraine’s strategic communications both domestically and abroad. Dzhaparova was awarded the Mark Palmer Prize for her support of the Ukrainian people, especially Crimean Tatars, and her leadership in the fight against Russian aggression.

Federico Fabbrini
Federico Fabbrini

Full Professor at Dublin City University (DCU), Founding Director of the Brexit Institute and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Federico Fabbrini

Federico is an Italian academic, who currently teaches at the School of Law & Government at DCU, where he is also the Director of the Law Research Center and established the Brexit Institute to explore the implications of Brexit on government, business and society from an academic and policy perspective. A qualified attorney, he has previously held academic positions in the Netherlands and Denmark and been a visiting scholar in France, Australia, Japan and the United States. Federico has authored five monographs, one textbook and over 100 articles and book chapters on European law and policy, in addition to policy reports at the request of the European Parliament and the Presidency of the Eurogroup. He has also edited numerous books and special issues for journals. In recognition of his contributions to European scholarship, Federico was awarded the European Charlemagne Prize Fellowship and knighted by the President of Italy.

Kensika Monshengwo
Kensika Monshengwo

Intercultural Training Coordinator at the Immigrant Council of Ireland

Show more information on Kensika Monshengwo

Prior to his current position, Kensika Monshengwo worked with the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism, under the aegis of the Department of Justice, as Training and Resources Officer. He has extensive experience in intercultural training and has worked primarily with decision-makers from government departments, service providers, private sector employers, media organisations and non-governmental organisations in Ireland and abroad. Monshengwo has also written and disseminated a wide range of advocacy and training materials.

Murray shona
Shona Murray

European Affairs Correspondent at Euronews and Independent.ie

Show more information on Shona Murray

Shona Murray is a journalist with extensive reporting experience covering European and Irish current affairs, as well as Brexit, international politics, foreign affairs and various international humanitarian crises across the globe. Murray has reported from dozens of countries, including Colombia, Cuba, South Sudan, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo and is a regular correspondent on the Middle East, having reported from Iraq, Gaza, Israel, Turkey and Jordan. Currently an EU Correspondent with Euronews, she has previous written for the Irish Independent.

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