EU heads of state or government met in Rome, Italy, on 25 March, for the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties. This was an occasion to reflect on the state of the European Union and look at the future of the integration process.
“Today in Rome we are renewing the unique alliance of free nations that was initiated 60 years ago by our great predecessors”, said President Donald Tusk at the ceremony in Campidoglio. “At that time they did not discuss multiple speeds, they did not devise exits, but despite all the tragic circumstances of the recent history, they placed all their faith in the unity of Europe.”
President Tusk highlighted that fact that on the day of the anniversary millions of people across Europe were demonstrating their support for the EU.
“The European Union is not about slogans, it is not about procedures, it is not about regulations. Our Union is a guarantee that freedom, dignity, democracy and independence are no longer only our dreams, but our everyday reality.”
At the end of the celebrations the leaders adopted and signed the Rome Declaration setting out a joint vision for the years to come.
In the Declaration, they stressed that the European Union is a unique Union with common institutions and strong values, a community of peace, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, a major economic power with unparalleled levels of social protection and welfare.
“European unity started as the dream of a few, it became the hope of the many. Then Europe became one again. Today, we are united and stronger: hundreds of millions of people across Europe benefit from living in an enlarged Union that has overcome the old divides.”
The Rome Declaration
Leaders declared that, aware of the concerns of the EU citizens, they commit to the Rome Agenda, and pledged to work towards:
- a safe and secure Europe
- a prosperous and sustainable Europe
- a social Europe
- a stronger Europe on the global scene
“Europe as a political entity will either be united, or will not be at all. Only a united Europe can be a sovereign Europe in relation to the rest of the world,” said President Tusk.
Treaties of Rome were the founding treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC), which were signed on 25 March 1957 and entered into force on 1 January 1958.
With institutional structures similar to that of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the new communities also comprised four institutions: a Commission, a Council and, shared jointly with the ECSC, an Assembly and a Court.
The first meeting of the Council of the EEC took place on 25 January 1958 under the chairmanship of Victor Larock, the Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister.