2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. Meaning: 60 years ago, six countries devastated by more than five years of World War II, decided to work together, regain their economic power, but also their trust in each other.
They started by building an Economic Coal and Steel Community (or, in translation, they began focused on commodities). But soon after that they felt the need to go one step further.
Sure, the main initial focus points of the Treaty of Rome were based on reducing the hurdles that come with doing business across borders. But soon enough the focus enlarged itself, to the creation not only of a single market, but common agriculture and transportation policies, and a common social fund. Moreover, they felt the need to create a common executive arm – the Commission.
Working every day on managing the different views of different stakeholders, on finding common ground where they often only see diverging perspectives, I cannot help but to look with profound admiration to the leaders of those first six signing countries – Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany. Little more than a decade before, the territory had been involved in one of the worst conflicts in History. Now it was physically, spiritually and economically healing. Slowly.
The Economic Coal and Steel Community, and the Economic European Community afterwards, were born from the conviction that together we are stronger. That working together we can enhance each one’s assets, help diminish each other’s difficulties. Of course, such an entrepreneurship has its ups and downs. It is not always easy to have a balance. And one cannot by too naïve (or too uninformed) as to believe that at no time countries see themselves accepting more than they were willing for.
What I do think is undeniable is that the economic, political but also social, educational and cultural assets that the European Union represents today for the People of the member States. And that, flaw filled as it can be, this is now the road to follow.