> From Six Member States…
> …to Twenty Seven
> Challenges for the European Union
dijous, 22 de març de 2007
On Sunday, 25 March, Europe will celebrate a historic event: the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome which established the European Economic Community (EEC), predecessor of the current European Union (EU), a suprastatal institution with a population of nearly 500 million people.
To mark the occasion a whole range of commemorative events will be taking place throughout the month, including some over the next few days in the EU and in different parts of the world. Rome, where the Treaty was signed, will host one of the most remarkable events being held: the Youth Summit, which will bring together young people from across the EU to debate issues that are vital to the future of Europe.
Another event charged with symbolism will be the Festival of Europe in Berlin with an open air concert on 25 March in front of the Brandenburg Gate. It was here that the Berlin wall divided not only Europe but the world for nearly three decades (1961-1989).
The celebrations to mark half a century of the European Union include cultural, sporting and musical events along with a whole range of other activities: art exhibitions, concerts, conferences, football matches, cinema and theatre, etc.
Naturally, the anniversary will be celebrated in the Catalan Countries, where there has been a strong European tradition. One of the events that is sure to be one of the most spectacular takes place this Friday in Barcelona: the lighting up of the Agbar Tower with the colours of the European flag.
From Six Member States…
The European Economic Community was set up by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 by six member countries: German, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The EEC was a decisive step towards building a prosperous and peaceful Europe following two world wars which started on European soil: 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. It's not surprising, therefore, that included in the founding members were France and Germany, two countries that in less than 100 years had gone to war against each other three times. European cooperation, started in 1949 and strengthened with the Treaty of Rome, had a fundamental objective: peace.
…to Twenty Seven
Slowly, this European club (if we can put it like that) became larger with the incorporation of new members. In 1993 the European Union was officially founded. With more political, economic and judicial power, the new EU was a landmark in the ideal of creating a united Europe. In 2004, 15 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall (which had divided the Eastern Bloc from the capitalist west), the European Union expanded eastwards and took in ten new members, bringing the total to 25. On 1 January 2007, two more countries joined the EU: Rumania and Bulgaria.
Challenges for the European Union
+ The Catalan language version of the EU's 50th anniversary logo.
This half a century of European cooperation has been, without doubt, a success story. However, the European Union is facing some big challenges. One of the challenges it faces is achieving greater political union, something that will revive the process of European construction which ran aground two years ago. Another equally important task is that of paying attention to the great diversity that exists within Europe, of promoting and helping all peoples and cultures that make up the EU to have a voice.
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