Thursday, March 22, 2007

50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome

This weekend, the European Union celebrates in Berlin the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome which created the European Economic Community (EEC). The EEC has since morphed into the European Union.

The EU has created a website to mark the occasion. The site contains background information and statistics on the European Union, a calendar of events marking the anniversary, and a collection of publications and other material highlighting the many achievements and challenges facing the EU.

The Open Democracy site has a number of interesting features discussing what the 50th anniversary means:
  • The European Union at fifty: a second life : "This, then, is the test for the European Union leaders in Berlin. The challenge they face is threefold: to come to a balanced assessment of the successes and failures of the EU's fifty-year journey, to honestly examine what works and what doesn't in the present-day union, and to look ahead with a clear understanding that the issues the union will face in the next half-century will be very different from those in the last. If they manage all of that, they will deserve their champagne."
  • European unity: reality and myth: "The EU mythology of the pères fondateurs has the great men of Europe staring out across the war-wasted cities and farms of our continent, saying 'war - never again!', and committing themselves to European unity. And - voila! - the deed was done. A look at the documents and memoirs of the period paints a more complex picture, one which shows that the project was (as today) never an easy one. Why, for example, did these architects of a united Europe take twelve years after the cessation of hostilities in Europe in May 1945 to arrive at Rome? The question suggests another: was it indeed the second world war which gave birth to the European project, or was it rather the cold war?"
  • The European Union in 2057: "Different voices suggest that the whole idea of searching for grand unifying themes is a mistake. According to these voices what is required is for the union to demonstrate policies that work to benefit people in their everyday life, enhance job security and protect against social change. The existing institutions should be allowed to get on with their jobs, as they are, without further navel-gazing. Those policies that do not work at a union level should be restored to the national and local level so that people do not feel so disconnected from remote and bureaucratic processes in Brussels. "Policy relevance" is the catchphrase. In 2057, when people come to celebrate the union's centenary, they may look at this cacophony with bemusement. With hindsight it is always possible to spot trends and processes that were not so obvious at the time. What might these be?"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:03 pm


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