The Treaties of Rome at 60: Commission recalls Europe’s achievements and leads discussion on the future at 27
Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, participated in the Rome Summit (March 25, 2017), where a number of events were organised to mark the occasion and to reflect on Europe’s common future.
The Treaties of Rome – signed by the six founding Member States – paved the way for the European Union that we know today: a reunited continent of peace, founded on the values of solidarity, democracy and the rule of law. Its Single Market ensures freedom of choice and movement, economic growth and prosperity for 500 million citizens. It is the largest trading bloc in the world and the biggest donor of development and humanitarian aid. This anniversary is a moment to look back on our collective achievements and to discuss the future of the EU at 27. Following the presentation of the Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe, EU leaders are expected to adopt the Rome Declaration, which will feature the Union’s past achievements, present challenges and pledge to work for unity at 27 and strengthen common action in key policy areas, to the benefit of citizens.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Our parents and grandparents founded this Union with one common vision: never again war. It was their strong conviction that breaking down barriers, working together – and not against each other – makes us all stronger. History has proven them right. For 60 years, the values on which this Union is built have not changed: peace, freedom, tolerance, solidarity and the rule of law bind and unite us. They must not be taken for granted and we must fight for them every day. Our democracy, our diversity and our independent and free press are the pillars of Europe’s strength – no individual or institution is above the law. The European Union has changed our lives for the better. We must ensure it continues to do so for those that will follow us. For now, all roads lead to Rome. After Rome and however it is paved, there is only one way forward: European unity.”
On 1 March, ahead of the Rome Summit, the Commission launched a pan-European debate with the White Paper on the Future of Europe, which will enable citizens and leaders to shape the vision of the EU at 27. The White Paper sets out possible scenarios for the future of Europe. Following the informal meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government on 10 March in Brussels, the Rome Summit is the next opportunity for EU leaders to take this discussion forward. In Rome, leaders will sign the Rome declaration, prepared jointly by Presidents Tusk and Juncker and Prime Ministers Muscat and Gentiloni.
The Rome declaration marks the beginning of a process. After the Rome Summit, the Commission will present a series of reflection papers on key issues for Europe: (1) developing the social dimension of Europe; (2) deepening the Economic and Monetary Union; (3) harnessing globalisation; (4) the future of Europe’s defence and (5) the future of EU finances. President Juncker’s State of the Union speech in September 2017 will take these ideas forward before first conclusions can be drawn at the December 2017 European Council. This will help to decide on a course of action to be rolled out in time for the European Parliament elections in June 2019.
The Commission will also be organising in the months ahead public debates with the European Parliament and Member States, as well as online consultations, so that Europe’s citizens have their say and are able to share their views on the future of Europe via the Commission Representations and a dedicated website, which will be launched on 25 March. These are some of the milestones in the White Paper process.
Commission events in Rome
In cooperation with the Italian authorities, the Commission is organising several high-level events in Rome to mark the anniversary and discuss Europe’s past, present and future.
- Digital Day (23/03), Palazzo Doria Pamphilj: Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Günther Oettinger bring together EU ministers and industry leaders to foster cooperation and better prepare our societies and the economy to reap the full potential of Europe’s digital transformation. Member States are expected to make commitments on High-Performance Computing, connected mobility, digitising industry and digital jobs.
- Jean Monnet Seminar “The future of Europe: a commitment for You(th)” (23/03-24/03), Hotel Quirinale: More than 100 Jean Monnet professors, policy makers, journalists, civil society, youth association representatives and students will debate the future of the EU and the need to further involve young generations in the construction of the European project.
- Citizens’ Dialogue (24/03), Acquario di Roma: High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council, will hold a Citizens’ Dialogue with several hundred young Europeans, including Erasmus students currently studying in Rome.
- Meeting with the Social Partners (24/03), Palazzo Chigi: President Juncker, Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Thyssen, alongside the Presidents of the European Council and European Parliament will meet with trade unions and business associations at an event hosted by the Italian Prime Minister.
- Forum and concert (24/03), University La Sapienza: “Happy birthday Europe – Changing course to Europe”.
- Concert of the EU Youth Orchestra (25/03), Villa Medici:”The Sound of a Dream”.
The Treaties of Rome established a common market where people, goods, services and capital can move freely and created the conditions for prosperity and stability for European citizens. Based on this foundation and the common values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, the Union grew and reunited the continent after the fall of the Berlin Wall and ensured prosperity, social and economic well-being, and sustainability for 500 million citizens.
The EU is now a place where Europeans can enjoy a unique diversity of culture, ideas and traditions. Europeans have formed life-long bonds with each other and can travel, study and work across national borders. Europe is a pioneer of gender equality, with women’s employment rate now at an all-time high. 6.5 million Europeans are currently working in another EU Member State. 1.7 million Europeans cross a border to work in another Member State every day. 9 million young Europeans have benefitted from the Erasmus programme of educational, vocational and professional exchanges.
In 2017, as we celebrate 60 years of the Treaties we can also say for the first time in ten years that economic growth is back in each and every Member State. The euro – the common currency in 19 out of 28 EU countries – is used by 338.6 million people every day. The European Union has become the largest trade bloc in the world. The total exports of the EU27 are worth around €5.8 trillion. This represents over one third of total global exports, more than two and a half times China’s exports, and over three times those of the USA. The EU is the top trading partner for 80 countries. Every additional €1 billion in exports supports 15,000 jobs across the EU.
The White Paper presented by the European Commission on 1 March offers five scenarios for the Union’s evolution by 2025:
- “Carrying On“: the EU27 continues delivering on its positive reform agenda;
- “Nothing but the Single Market“: the EU27 would focus on the single market as 27 Member States are not able to find common ground on an increasing number of policy areas;
- “Those Who Want More Do More“: the EU27 proceeds as today but willing Member States could work closer together in specific areas;
- “Doing Less More Efficiently“: focus on delivering more and faster in selected policy areas, while doing less in others;
- “Doing Much More Together“: Member States decide to share more power, resources and decision-making across the board.
The scenarios cover a range of possibilities and are illustrative in nature. They are neither mutually exclusive, nor exhaustive.
For More Information
Webpage: The EU at 60 including events in Member States
Audiovisual Portal: 60 video testimonials about Europe
EPSC Brochure: “The European Story: 60 Years of Shared Progress”
EEAS webpage: 60 Years of the EU in the World
This article is edited by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States
► To watch video "Europe 1957-2017: 60 years of peace, democracy, solidarity", click here