The 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome sees the EU much changed from its early origins. We have moved from an economic community to a Union based on civil and human rights and the values common to the peoples of Europe. It has been, and is, a great success.
However it is clear that the Union is not without its troubles on this important anniversary. The Brexit negotiations are about to start. There are nationalist and decentralizing tendencies in many Member States and important elections in Germany and France. There are real problems of immigration and the absence of, or the uneven distribution of, economic growth.
These problems should not daunt us. Our fathers in the integration process faced greater problems. They sought to make peace and to make an institution to guarantee peace from the ashes of the most destructive of European wars.
What we must do is face up to our problems and resolve them. We have great shoulders to stand on. We have been given the evolving EU treaties, the Single Market, a strong Court of Justice in Luxembourg, good competition law, the rights of citizens, in other words a strong legal framework.
This is no time for faintheartedness. We must move on with courage and ensure that the Union is with us for more than another 60 years.