Europe Day: lessons from history

Europe Day, celebrated on 9 May, is all about our common journey from war to peace and cooperation. It was on 9 May 1950 that then French foreign minister Robert Schuman put in words a dream of a different Europe working together to overcome conflicts and growing stronger step by step. In 1958, this dream took shape in the Rome Treaties that set the basis for the European Union. Francesco Fresi was present in Rome at the signing and shared with us his thoughts on Europe’s extraordinary journey.

“It was our great hope that Europe would grow stronger and continue to develop, both economically and politically,” said Fresi, who in 1957 was part of the Italian delegation that signed the historic treaties paving the way for economic cooperation in Europe. He was a member of the cabinet of then prime minister Antonio Segni and would later join the European Commission as an official. In his interview, he gives behind-the-scene details about the signing and expresses his hopes about the future.

“Is Europe in danger? Yes, it is,” he said, adding: “To move forward, we have to change, but it takes leadership… Let’s not wait for solutions from others. Europe must improve itself and determine its own future, with its own destiny, identity and values.”