2017 is the 60th anniversary of the Treaty Of Rome; the establishment of the community of countries we now know today as the European Union. A lot has changed, and not all of it good. However, many individuals and groups have ideas and proposals on how to redesign the European project. Should it be a confederation, a federalist republic or should it even resort to being an economic project like the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community? So many proposals that are being countered by the negativity of the right wing who call for a break up of the union and the establishment of secret treaties and alliances amongst the states of Europe, now shadows of their past trying to bring back the days of empire. Whatever the proposals, the call for the death of the EU should be resisted at all costs. Europa United is currently working with one group who are in the midst of proposing a new manifesto, a new vision of Europe; the Rome Manifesto.

United Europe, together with the German-Italian Centre for European Excellence Villa Vigoni and Stiftung Mercator present the “Rome Manifesto,” a document setting out the next generation’s views and proposals for the future of Europe.

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The Treaty of Rome, 1957

The Rome Manifesto will be presented at the German Embassy’s Villa Almone in Rome on March 23, 2017 and last weekend, the joint committee met at Villa Vigoni and decided on the final the draft of the manifest.

How should we reform?

This event, along with the March for Europe movement, is a direct reaction to the various sections of society who have decided right or wrong, to come to the conclusion that the EU is a negative aspect of European society. As a result of very cleaver use of the media, many figures who normally would have never had any opportunity to voice their criticisms of the EU now have very loud voices across the world media and have managed to hoodwink those in society who are mostly ignorant to benefits of being citizens of the European Union.

The Rome Manifesto teams hard at work

So it is imperative that any proposals drawn up to institute change must include more education and ease of access to the EU and it’s functions. It is not uncommon for people to criticize something they do not fully understand and it seems to me that the entire workings of the EU are a complete mystery to a average citizen. And I don’t blame them. There is no doubt that the information is out there but it isn’t exactly user friendly. You will of course see many signs on road improvements, buildings and community projects indicating that it was partly funded by the EU but does it sink in? Probably not and mainly because they don’t understand how much involvement the EU has given to the said project.

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A sample of those organisations involved in the Rome Manifesto

A prefect moment

There could also be a conflict of interest with both local, national and EU level departments all vying for popularity with its voters and in this battle the EU loses every time. It has no political agenda despite what many believe and thus it is simply being matter of fact when it comes to promotion of its benefits. What is needed are some sharp salesmen and PR specialist who can turn the image of the EU around and almost make it sexy. Because as incredible as it seems, the right wing is now fashionable. It ‘s cool to have ago at the liberal media and its followers and this is where the EU needs to concentrate. There is still a vast middle ground who are undecided and if Europe is to stem the tide of nationalism and right wing politics, then it needs to start telling people just how bloody good it is.

Despite the fact that it feels like the world is crumbling around us, we actually have a golden opportunity. We should see it this way; if those who wish to destroy the EU think this is the right time to set the charges and blow it all up, then we who wish to reform the EU should adopt similar tactics. However instead of using demolition charges, we start a refurbishment. We should to use this moment against the right and push for change because in the light of what those who run the EU are facing, our proposals must be more appealing. So I do hope that the Rome Manifesto and other similar projects and proposals think about how the EU is seen to the public and do the right thing by telling them that just like their favourite soft drink, life just wouldn’t be the same without it.

For more information on the Rome Manifesto, you can follow us here on Europa United or take a look at our partners United Europe and Neos Magazine.

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