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The EU at 50 - time to reflect and look ahead

Institutions - 22-03-2007 - 17:49
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Fireworks behind the Colosseum in Rome

50 Years since the Rome Treaty

Fifty years ago this week the leaders of six European countries put their signatures to the Treaty of Rome which launched the European Economic Community. Fifty years later the Community has become the European Union with 27 members and almost half a billion citizens. This weekend celebrations across Europe will mark those 50 years. In Berlin EU leaders will gather to draft a declaration setting out what the EU has achieved in the 20th century and what it should do in the 21st.

The essence of the Rome Treaty was the "four freedoms" it enshrined: the free movement of movement of goods, services, capital and people. It also committed those who signed it to "ever closer union". The Treaty has stood the test of time and still remains the legal basis for most decisions taken by the EU. 
Berlin declaration - what the EP would like included
To mark the Treaty's 50th birthday EU leaders will meet in Berlin this weekend (as Germany holds the EU Presidency), to sign a declaration on Europe. The document is likely to contain both the achievements of the EU - notably peace across Europe - whilst also giving the Union a direction for the future.
The European Parliament - through its President Hans-Gert Pöttering - has already indicated what it would like to see in the document. It includes: a reference to the peace and prosperity the Union has brought, a commitment to transparency and subsidiary, a statement on the "fundamental values" of the EU. On future challenges an EU foreign and security policy and economic success will be identified as paramount. On Wednesday German Chancellor Angela Merkel will come to Parliament to present her conclusions of the weekend's summit and declaration.
Youth gather to discuss future
This weekend in Rome over 200 young people will gather for a "Youth Summit". On the agenda are such issues as globalisation and protection of the environment. Hans-Gert Pöttering will also attend as will Parliament's vice-president Alejo Vidal-Quadras. They will be there to listen to what young people would like to see Europe's leaders doing.
Parties around Europe
In Brussels a concert on Saturday night will feature a variety of European pop stars such as Zucchero, Axelle Red, Simply Red, The Scorpions, Kate Ryan, Kim Wilde, the Gypsy Kings and Nana Mouskouri.
Here is a taste (in the Maltese case literally), of what parties are planned around Europe this weekend:
Germany, Austria, Portugal, Brussels: Concerts
Finland: Exhibitions
Lithuania, Denmark: Fireworks and laser show
Czech Republic, Cyprus: Bus with logo
Austria, Estonia: Open days in EP offices and EU embassies
Bulgaria: Round tables
Estonia, Slovakia: Tree planting
Greece: Internet quiz
Malta: Cutting of birthday cake
For more details see the links below
REF.: 20070314STO04232