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Home >> World
UPDATED: 11:17, March 24, 2007
Italy celebrates EU 50th anniversary
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European leaders gathered in Rome on Friday to celebrate this weekend's 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, stressing the need to revive the European Constitution.

Addressing a Senate packed with delegations from the EU's 27 members, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said they want a strong and efficient EU, able to tackle global challenges.

The EU constitution, containing working rules judged essential after the EU's recent enlargement, was rejected in French and Dutch referendums two years ago and the EU re-working shelved.

On Sunday, the anniversary of the Rome treaty signing, EU leaders will adopt a Declaration of Berlin to renew the basis on which the EU is built.

Prodi said the Declaration of Berlin would be "brief but ambitious," aiming to "bring to fruition the greatest experiment in peace, democracy and prosperity in the contemporary world".

Prodi stressed the importance of agreeing on the new arrangements before the next European elections in 2009.

Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema stressed the importance of the EU speaking with a single voice on international issues and playing a bigger role in world security.

"A stronger Europe, with unity on foreign and defense policy, is a fundamental instrument of global equilibrium."

In other statements in Rome on Friday, European Commission President Jose' Manuel Barroso said a new treaty would have to " inspire its citizens with a new vision" while EP chief Hans-Gert Poettering said the EU needed new tools to "make our work more transparent and democratic."

At a separate ceremony in Rome Friday, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said the continued political unity of the EU was "imperative."

He said the EU's growth had been "epoch-making."

The landmark Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community (EEC) - the nucleus of today's EU.

The Rome Treaty founding the EEC and the European Atomic Energy Community were signed on March 25, 1957, at Rome's Campidoglio by the six countries of France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Source: Xinhua

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