Chancellor Angela Merkel has attended an anniversary summit in Rome along with the 26 other EU leaders. The EU heads of state and government celebrated the signing of the Treaties of Rome 60 years ago. On Friday evening the leaders were received in the Vatican by the Pope.
In the Rome Declaration they signed, the 27 EU heads of state and government affirmed their commitment to a common future. "The European Union is facing unprecedented challenges, both global and domestic: regional conflicts, terrorism, growing migratory pressures, protectionism and social and economic inequalities. Together, we are determined to address the challenges of a rapidly changing world and to offer to our citizens both security and new opportunities. Our Union is undivided and indivisible.""
"We want a secure Europe that protects us, which means that we must better protect our external borders. But we also want an economically strong Europe," declared the Chancellor after the Declaration was signed. In Rome all leaders undertook to do this together - "perhaps sometimes at different speeds, but all moving in the same direction at all times".
Angela Merkel pointed to the single market which is inalienable, as are the four fundamental freedoms: freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion. "That makes us strong together. And there will be no compromise on these points," she stressed.
Europe must, however, now deliver results. "There have been times when we have set ourselves a goal and have not sufficiently underpinned it, or reinforced it. That will have to change over the next ten years," said Angela Merkel.
"We will act together, at different paces and intensity where necessary, while moving in the same direction," stipulated the heads of state and government in their Declaration. Over the next ten years the main aim will be to ensure a safe, secure, prosperous, competitive, sustainable and socially responsible Union. This Union have the will and the capacity to play a key role in the world and to shape globalisation.
In the Rome Agenda, the EU heads of state and government affirm their commitment to secure external borders and to an effective, responsible and sustainable migration policy. Europe is determined, they agreed, to fight terrorism and organised crime. Over and above this, the Union must create growth and jobs and further develop the single market. Young people are to receive the best education and training and be able to study and find jobs across the continent.
A strong Europe in the world will, however, only be possible if we strengthen our common security and defence, as well as cooperation with NATO and engagement within the framework of the United Nations. The leaders of EU member states also call for free and fair trade and global climate policy.
"We will ensure that today’s agenda is implemented, so as to become tomorrow’s reality. We have united for the better. Europe is our common future." Thus closed the Rome Declaration.
The signing of the Treaties of Rome on 25 March 1957 is considered to mark the birth of the European Union. The "Treaties of Rome" founded the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).