The EU Heads of State and Government and Presidents of the European institutions will meet today in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties. The Treaties of Rome, which were signed on this day in 1957, established what we now know as the European Union. On this joyous occasion, the President of the European People’s Party (EPP), Joseph Daul, made the following statement:

“Exactly 60 years ago, visionary politicians started a project of reconciliation and peace. Today, we mark the beginning of an incredible political adventure. These six decades of European integration have brought us security, stability and prosperity. It is wonderful that most European citizens do not know war and have not had to suffer consequences. I was born shortly after the Second World War, in Alsace, a region which France and Germany had fought over for many decades. And it was not evident that both countries were destined for reconciliation, cooperation and indeed integration.

My roots may have given me an acute sense of the successes of the European Union. But today, we are also celebrating what the EU is doing for each one of us, here and now. Traveling across the border, to meet friends or to go to work, was never as seamless as it is today. We tend to get used to these conveniences; but it is worth remembering that our predecessors, particularly in the framework of the EPP, fought long and hard to make Europe happen, to make our Union of values happen.

Today, however, is not only a day for nice memories. Today, we are also looking forward. Populists across Europe want us to believe that the EU is in decline, like the Roman Empire in its dying days. But I’ve got news for them: we are only getting started. The question before us is what type of Europe we want for the future.

The priorities of the European People’s Party have long been clear. We want a prosperous Europe that puts money in the pockets of its citizens. We also want a secure Europe that protects us from terrorism and from the arc of conflict surrounding us. We want to be an inspiring regional and global leader. And we want a Europe that is close to its citizens. To achieve these objectives requires European unity, requires that we move forward together. All Member States need to face in the same direction to deliver results to the people of Europe.

Next week, I will be hosting the Congress of the European People’s Party in Malta, including 2,000 delegates from more than 40 countries. We will present the EPP’s choice for the future of Europe. We will debate it — and then we will build it together.”