European march leaders: Celebrate EU’s 60th as the success of a peace project

Rome’s movement for Europe: EU peace project “taken for granted” for “far too long” – CommonSpace reporter Michael Gray reports from Rome

THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY of the Treaty of Rome is a moment to reflect on the success of the European Union in brining peace to Western Europe, according to organisers. 

Petros Fassoulas, secretary general of the European Movement International, one of the key organisers in this weekend’s [Saturday 25 March] central march in Rome, said that too many people had forgotten the reason for why European unity was established in the first place. 

Fassoulas, speaking at the Chamber of Deputies, Rome, in a March for Europe press conference said that the “silent majority” in Europe who have benefited from that peace should speak out to ensure that the stability when “European values are being questioned”. 

“There is a silent majority out there. For far too long we have taken for granted what we have. We have enjoyed the achievements of the European project and haven’t felt the need to speak out in favour,” he said.

“We’re here to provide people with a platform to do that,” he explained, with a planned build-up on pro-EU activism before the 2019 elections. 

“For far too long we have taken for granted what we have.” Petros Fassoulas

The Treaty of Rome celebration will mark exactly 60 years since the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, a building block towards economic and social policy integration just a generation after the end of the war that destroyed European societies.

While 27 EU leaders meet in Rome to sign a new declaration of cooperation, political groups and campaigners will take to the streets in favour of the European project. The Union of European Federalists, the Young European Federalist, and the European Movement International, among others, have coordinated a ‘March for Europe’ in favour of greater European integration. 

The European project has been under increased pressure with the Eurozone crisis, refugee crisis, threats from right and left wing anti-EU forces, and the recent Brexit vote in England and Wales. 

Read more - “March for Europe” to be held in Edinburgh at weekend of EU's 60th

However, the rightwing Eurosceptics - despite much speculation - have failed in Austria and the Netherlands, with all polling expecting centre-ground forces to triumph this year in key French and German elections. 

A march will also take place in Edinburgh. 

Picture courtesy of David Brossard

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