60 years of the Treaties of Rome – Europe, a success story

Mar 27, 2017

Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (l.) and the State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, Walter Hallstein, sign the Treaties of Rome in the Palace of the Conservators on the Capitoline Hill in Rome on 25 March 1957. Enlarge image Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (l.) and the State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, Walter Hallstein, sign the Treaties of Rome in the Palace of the Conservators on the Capitoline Hill in Rome on 25 March 1957. (© picture-alliance / dpa/dpaweb)

On 25 March, the whole of Europe will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, the Treaties of Rome. In signing these documents in Rome in March 1957, the Heads of Government of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg laid the foundations for a project which, along with the European Coal and Steel Community, was to develop over six decades into the world’s biggest project for freedom, peace and prosperity: the European Union.

European Union means peace

The celebrations provide an opportunity to look back on this grand project and to remind ourselves of what it actually means to be a citizen of the European Union.

For us, firstly and most importantly, it means peace. Never before has there been such a long period of peace in Europe – 70 years now. This was made possible by the decision of the European states, in the wake of two devastating World Wars, to focus on what they had in common, to prevent war in Europe for good and to find a peaceful form of cooperation. Differences of opinion are no longer resolved on the battlefield, but in an institutional framework. For this, the founding members transferred some of their sovereignty.

“Nowhere in the world can people live as freely and with as much democracy as in Europe,” 

was Foreign Minister Gabriel's summary

recently at a European policy workshop with the public at the Federal Foreign Office. European cooperation was the 20th century’s greatest project for civilisation, the Minister said, and it had helped to overcome animosities and conflicts in Europe. “That’s something worth caring about.”

The European Union: an attractive trading partner

The EU is also celebrating great success as an economic area. The EU single market is the world’s largest internal market. From a global perspective, the EU member states in concert are a major economic player and can shape globalisation. With its 500 million people, the single market is an attractive trading partner. “Our children and grandchildren will only be heard in the world if Europe speaks with one voice,” 

stressed Gabriel.

The EU single market is a key instrument to secure employment and prosperity for Europe’s citizens. It also ensures equal opportunities and protection for the individual: workers enjoy comprehensive protection against discrimination at work and in the application process. Expectant mothers enjoy special protection, and companies are not allowed to form cartels to dictate prices. All this is guaranteed, thanks to the EU.

The EU is a success story. That is why we want to continue along the path of cooperation, working together to find solutions. To mark the anniversary, the 27 Heads of State and Government of the member states and the EU institutions will gather in Rome to reaffirm their commitment to the joint European course. They will acknowledge the achievements made in the process of European integration and formulate a perspective for the coming years. At the beginning of this month, the European Commission presented

White Paper on the Future of Europe ,

which looks at Europe’s greatest challenges and opportunities and sketches out five scenarios for the development of the EU over the next ten years. The European Commission has also marked the anniversary with the publication of 

60 Gründe für die EU (60 Reasons for the EU).


Last updated 24.03.2017

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