Poles celebrate European Union with march on bloc's 60th anniversary

Citizens' Parliament: the people say how they see the future of the EU

Citizens' Parliament: the people say how they see the future of the EU

European Union leaders gather in Rome this weekend mark the 60th anniversary of the EU's founding document as leaders look to define the bloc's future and defend its values on multiple fronts with Brexit negotiations looming.

In a letter addressed to EU leaders, European Council President Donald Tusk said the commemoration was "an opportunity to reflect on the state of the European Union and the future of the integration process".

We will negotiate and leave as one United Kingdom, seeking the best possible deal for the whole of the UK as we do so.

"At that time we all looked to the West, towards a free and unifying Europe, instinctively feeling that this was the very future we were dreaming about".

Underlining the disaffection with the union, protesters took to the streets Saturday, shutting down Rome neighborhoods and railing against European technocrats, capitalism and shadowy economic powers.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo agreed to sign the declaration only at the last minute, after bitterly opposing a reference to a "multi- speed" Europe favoured by powerhouse states France and Germany.

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Carmen Cano is head of the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macau.

Whatever future events might bring, one thing is certain: the European Union will continue to put promoting worldwide peace and security, development cooperation, human rights, and responding to humanitarian crises at the heart of its foreign and security policies. The EU is not flawless, but it has time and again proven that it is the best tool we have to cope with present and future challenges.

Muscat, whose country now holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, argued that the European Union does deliver tangible results - once which are not even noticed when citizens cross borders or when consumers compare prices in the same currency.

Only one leader was absent. All of us have needed, or will need solidarity. "This will mean being unafraid to make practical decisions capable of responding to people's real problems and of standing the test of time". And I am not just referring to migration.

The treaty is now officially celebrated as the birth of today's EU.

"The success of the Union hinges on our ability to implement the social pillar".

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Muscat called Europeans to be ambitious for the future. "We should give our people the protection they expect, without confounding it with protectionism".

It reads: "We, the Leaders of 27 Member States and of EU institutions, take pride in the achievements of the European Union: the construction of European unity is a bold, far-sighted (endeavor)".

One by one they were greeted by the European council president, Donald Tusk, the Italian prime minister, Paolo Gentilini, and Joseph Muscat, the prime minister of Malta, the state that now holds the rotating presidency of the council of the EU.

"Prove today that you are the leaders of Europe, that you can care for this great legacy we inherited from the heroes of European integration 60 years ago", Tusk said in a speech.

In an apparent swipe his native Poland and at Hungary, which have faced criticism for violating democratic norms and interfering with the independence of the judiciary and press freedom, Mr Tusk said that European unity was less about bureaucracy than about values.

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