Have you ever been present at an historic moment? Francesco Fresi is a former EU official, one of the last living witnesses to the signing of the Treaty of Rome. In challenging times, he reminds us of our shared values, which laid the foundations for the European Union we know today.
He was closely involved in the signing of the Treaty of Rome, the founding act of the European Community. Francesco Fresi is one of the last remaining witnesses of this historic event. In 1957, he was part of the Italian delegation, as a member of Prime Minister Segni's cabinet. After a career dedicated to the European project, he is in a position to connect the Europe of yesterday with the Europe of today. I was there, here I am in this photograph, which stirs up many emotions for me. I was young, a young official working for the Italian presidency of the Council of Ministers. It was the beginning of my official participation in the activities related to the creation of the European Community. And looking back at all of this 60 years later, it's really quite extraordinary... The signing of the treaty had to take place at a symbolic location. What better symbol than Rome, with its culture, as an extension of the ancient Greek and Judaic culture. And in Rome, what better place than the Capitoline Hill, which represents the centre of what has been the culture of the Roman Empire and all of Europe. I remember inspecting the room several days earlier, it was full of work tables, because what most people don't know is that the negotiations were moved to Rome, to work out the final details. The treaty was complete, but they had not seen it in its entirety yet, because the train carriage bringing all the treaty documents from Brussels to Rome was blocked in Switzerland. It did not arrive in time for this official day. But the negotiators who were in Rome each had their own working version of the text, so it was possible to reconstruct the treaty that they had on the table. In any case, it wasn't necessary to sign all the pages of the treaty, they just needed the signature page. It was our great hope that Europe would grow stronger and continue to develop, both economically and politically. Is Europe in danger? Yes, it is. If we stop, it means going backwards. We'll lose the momentum to become a political power that can stand among other powers in the world. To move forward, we have to change, but it takes leadership. You need to know what you want and what you are working towards. Let's not wait for solutions from others. Europe must improve itself and determine its own future, with its own destiny, identity and values.