Rejuvenation time

Europe Wakes Up, Better Late than Never

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If Europe dares to make the changes needed in order to cooperate in some ways and create possibilities for its members, it will evolve.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Treaties of Rome were two treaties signed in Rome on March 25, 1957. One established the European Economic Community, or EEC, and another, the European Atomic Energy Community. They came into force in 1958.
    • Both treaties were signed by the six founding member states of the modern E.U.: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany.
    • The Treaty of Maastricht, signed in February 1992, represented a new stage in European integration, paving the way to European citizenship, a more powerful European Parliament, the monetary union, and eventually the introduction of the euro.
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    Audio

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Past Franziskus besucht das EU-Parlament
Europe is just getting going. Source: DPA [M]

On Friday, the heads of government from the European Union met one of their fiercest critics in Rome: the Pope.

The pope has repeatedly castigated the E.U., commenting a year ago on receiving the Charlemagne Prize that Europe seemed “not fruitful and vital” but “tired and aged.”

He had used a past appearance before the European Parliament to describe the  E.U. as a “grandmother.” Apparently, his comparison rankled with Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite her famous thick skin.

On Friday evening, Pope Francis will most likely not be as hard on the Europeans. He doesn’t need to. Now, there are more and more signs the E.U. is awakening from and confronting backward-looking nationalist more boldly than in the past.

With Emmanuel Macron, France finally has a promising presidential candidate who voices energetic support for the E.U. and isn’t giving up in the face of the europhobic National Front. It is also noteworthy that Germany’s foreign minister has spoken out in favor of improved financing for the E.U. Up to now, Sigmar Gabriel didn’t appear to be a great fan of the institution.

It could well be that the upcoming sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Rome Treaty could send out a genuine signal of renewed momentum.

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