Treaty That Begat the European Union Celebrated by EU Leaders with ‘Rome Declaration’

When in Rome...

By Paul Riegler on 25 March 2017
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Twenty-seven leaders of EU nations commemorated in Rome on Saturday the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, an event that set the course for today’s European Union, with the signing of a statement affirming its future.

“We, the Leaders of 27 Member States and of EU institutions, take pride in the achievements of the European Union: the construction of European unity is a bold, far-sighted endeavor,” they said.

The name of one leader, however, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, was noticeably absent from the document.

Proclaiming “Europe is our common future” despite a number of setbacks including Britain’s plans to exit the bloc, the statement celebrated the “unique union with common institutions and strong values, a community of peace, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

The Rome Declaration, as the statement is known, was signed in the same room and on the same day as the Treaty of Rome, which is officially known as Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, and was signed by Belgium, France, Germany (then West Germany), Italy, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands.

Signed on March 25, 1957, the Treaty of Rome proposed the creation of a single market for goods, labor, services, and capital across member states, a customs union, and the creation of common policies for agriculture and transport. It also established the European Commission, which is the executive arm of the European Union and is responsible for managing its day-to-day business as well as for upholding treaties, proposing legislation, and implementing decisions.

The signers of the Rome Declaration recognized the fragile situation Europe was in at the time as well as how far it had come.

“Sixty years ago, recovering from the tragedy of two world wars, we decided to bond together and rebuild our continent from its ashes,” they wrote. Today, the European Union is “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.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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