But what is Europe Direct and what do they do?
Executive Librarian and manager of the Europe Direct Information Centre for Donegal & Gaeltacht, Helen Mc Nutt tells us everything we need to know and more.
The EU has a huge impact on our lives as EU citizens, says Helen.
“In almost all aspects of our lives, we are affected by EU decisions & directives to national governments. These decisions influence many aspects of our lives, including what is in our toothpaste when we brush our teeth, what we eat & drink, the quality of our roads as we drive to work, how equally we are treated as citizens, our access to employment and mobility and our rights to work anywhere in the EU. It is important that we understand the structures within the EU, what their functions are, their budgets and how we as citizens can influence their decisions. Right now the most important issue on the immediate horizon is the EU Parliament elections on May 23rd”.
The Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) is based in Central Library, Letterkenny and in Gweedore Library and is part of a network of accessible, local information centres in all EU member states.
“The basic aim of EDIC is to provide as much information as possible to EU citizens locally and organise activities that stimulate debate and allow people to feedback to the European Commission on issues that affect them.
This year the Centre will focus on the aims and objectives of Europe 2020 in areas of employment, education, climate change and social inclusion. Events and information will also be provided on the rights of the EU citizen, active citizenship, CAP and CFP reform and of course the EU Parliamentary elections in May 2014.”
“Recent changes in the EU have given more power to the EU parliament. EU expansion has meant a reduction in the number of Irish MEPs and the subsequent changes to our constituencies. The EDIC has a raft of information on all these issues and we are trying to get it to as many members of the public as possible,” stressed Helen.
In 2013 the centre hosted 67 events to just under 5000 members of the public, from pre-school children to older age groups. These included diverse sections of the community from farmers & fishermen to schools & community groups.
Helen says the events are a great way of getting information to the public in a light-hearted and fun way.
“Each year we also put on an extensive programme of events. These events reflect EU priorities such as active citizenship, research & innovation, fishing and agricultural reforms, environmental issues etc. We try to make our events as accessible as possible in venues throughout the county. A sample of our events include the annual ‘Have your Say’ Soapbox competition, talks on current EU issues such as agriculture and fishing reforms, debates on EU policy and even European Fairytales.
Our events are fun and informative and for those who think the two can’t go together, think again! Come along to one of our events and find out how fun meets information,” she laughed.
- There are 505 EDICs across the 28 European member states.
- The EDIC is located at the Central Library, Oliver Plunkett Road, Letterkenny: Telephone 074 9124950; Email firstname.lastname@example.org and at Leabharlann Phobail Gaoth Dobhair, Na Doire Beaga, Gaoth Dobhair: Telephone 074 9560862
- The EU’s 28 member states have a total population of over 508 million people