Institute of International and European Affairs
Membership of the European Union is perceived to have had a positive effect on Ireland in helping to limit the damage that the country is currently suffering as a result of the financial crisis. In particular there is a perception that membership of the Eurozone and strong support from the ECB is crucial to the survival of the Irish economy, which on its own is relatively small and very open.
Coverage has also been given to positive moves by the ECB, for example the doubling of loan aid available to governments and the December 2008 European Council’s agreement on a pan-EU Economic Recovery plan and joint action over toxic debt and the establishment of ‘bad banks’.
Expected shifts in the international power constellation
The most significant expected shift in international power affecting Ireland is the relative weakening of US diplomacy following the global financial crisis and the country’s military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As part of a speech delivered at Keio University on 15 January 2009, the Taoiseach highlighted the limits of US power evident in the Iraq war, and the fresh opportunities for co-operation with an America which needs partners and with emerging powers in Asia and a resurgent Russia.
In his address to the Joint Committee on European Affairs on 20 January 2009, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, echoed these sentiments, and also gave considerable attention to the impact on the EU of a resurgent Russia and its energy dispute with the Ukraine, though admitting that this did not affect the gas supplies of Ireland itself.
 See http://www.irishtimes.net/newspaper/world/2008/1014/1223921127150.html and http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=605&docID=4188 (last access: 23 March 2009).
 See http://www.independent.ie/business/european/eu-to-double-aid-for-governm... (last access: 23 March 2009).
 See http://126.96.36.199/index.asp?locID=582&docID=4139 (last access: 23 March 2009).
 See http://www.herald.ie/world-news/eu-ministers-look-to-cure-the-banks-of-t... (last access: 23 March 2009).
 See http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0130/breaking47.htm for example (last access: 23 March 2009).
 See http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=605&docID=4188 (last access: 23 March 2009).
 See http://foreignaffairs.gov.ie/home/index.aspx?id=80889 (last access: 23 March 2009).