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Messina Conference: Road to the Rome Treaties

Posted on 16 January 2017

An Online Exhibition of Photographs and Documents on the Mediterranean dimension of the European Integration Process

The exhibition Messina Conference: Road to the Rome Treaties commemorates the Messina Conference, the fundamental stepping stone to the Rome Treaties and to the European Communities. Images by celebrated photographers, and documents from numerous archives, illustrate this momentous episode in history.

This selection of photographs and documents was originally prepared by the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence as a static exhibition called 'Sicily in Europe, Europe in Sicily'. The Historical Archives of the Council of the European Union have since significantly expanded the exhibition for online publication with the addition of further research, content and material.

'Sicily in Europe, Europe in Sicily' was first presented in Messina in June 2015, and subsequently on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Conference in December 2015 at the Archivio Storico della Presidenza della Repubblica in Rome, and in July 2016 at the Infopoint Europa in Brussels.

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The Conferenza di Messina and the European Integration Process

The Conferenza di Messina (Messina Conference), which brought together the foreign ministers of the six founding countries of the European Coal and Steel Community (Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands), was held in 1955. The conference laid the foundation for the Rome Treaties and was thus crucial for the creation of Euratom and the European Economic Community. It provided a new momentum for the European integration process after the failure of the projects to establish a European Defence Community and a European Political Community.

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A Mediterranean Perspective

It was not by chance that the conference took place in Sicily: the Italian government wished to draw the other countries' attention to a geographically and economically marginalised area as part of the debate on the path to further integration.

This exhibition aims to highlight not only the political implications and consequences of the Messina Conference, but also the deeper cultural, social and economic roots of the relationship between Europe and Sicily.

Sicily, as perceived by the many European intellectuals, artists and scientists who have visited it since the end of the nineteenth century, symbolises the cultural origins of Europe, the continent's outermost southern border and a bridge towards the Mediterranean. Such a concentration of extraordinary artistic and literary - as well as sociological, anthropological and scientific - interests ultimately constituted the foundation of a political vision - the Mediterranean dimension as a key vocation of Europe.

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A Public Initiative of the General Secretariat of the Council

The exhibition Messina Conference: Road to the Rome Treaties is one of the public initiatives promoted by the General Secretariat of the Council, specifically by its Historical Archives.

The Historical Archives of the Council of the European Union understand the importance of raising awareness of its activities and the documents it preserves. By preserving the historical memory of the Council and making it available for research, it aims to foster knowledge of the role played by the Council of the European Union in the process of European integration.

The exhibition is open and can be accessed on your computer or mobile devices by entering this address : www.sicilyineurope.eu

Contact us at: archives.centrales@consilium.europa.eu