25 March marks 60 years since the signing of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, known as the Treaty of Rome. A seminal document, largely dedicated to economic integration and prosperity, it also enshrined the broader concepts of peace and equality. By bringing together European economies it ensured harmonious development, began a process of upward convergence and copper-fastened the bonds of solidarity between Europeans. In this way it it laid the foundations for the modern European Union and paved the way for the improvement of living and working conditions across Europe, which is the heart of Eurofound’s work still today.
The Treaty set about establishing a common market and customs union between signatories Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany and laid the basis for the ‘four freedoms’ on which the EU is built; the free movement of persons, services, goods and capital. And across these decades as Europe has evolved, evidence-based policies have been increasingly required in order to promote the upward convergence of the living and working conditions of the 500 million people living within the EU’s borders, and to ensure Europe’s continued economic development.
Although our research reflects the complexities of modern Europe, the values behind our work, whether it is on industrial relations, labour market change, monitoring convergence, quality of life and public services, working conditions and sustainable work; or even the digital age, can be traced back to the signing of the Treaty of Rome on 25 March 1957.
When EU leaders meet on the 60th anniversary of the Treaty this Saturday in Rome they will not only reflect on the past, they will also look to the future of Europe. Whatever path the EU embarks upon, the principles of peace, solidarity and prosperity contained in the Treaty of Rome will continue to play their part. Likewise, Eurofound will continue to deliver on its mandate as it provides scientifically-sound, unbiased, timely and relevant knowledge to assist in the development of better of social, employment and work-related policies in Europe.
Overview and list of events: 60 years of the Rome Treaties
The past: The history of the European Union
The future: White Paper on the future of Europe
Eurofound’s work: Programming document 2017–2020
Interactive timeline: Eurofound: The first 40 years
The European Story: 60 years of shared progress
Video: EU60 in 60 seconds