Rome, March 25 (IANS) European Union (EU) heads of state and government are gathering on Saturday in the Italian capital to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, and will sign a new declaration on the future of the bloc.
The leaders of EU member states, excluding the UK, along with community leaders, will begin arriving at Campidoglio, the headquarters of the Rome city council and the site of the treaty's signing in 1957, Efe news reported.
A ceremony will take place later, the declaration will be signed and the future of the EU addressed, according to an official statement.
After a group photo, a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the presidents of the European Commission, European Council and the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk and Antonio Tajani respectively, will take place.
The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, will also be present as his country holds the EU presidency, and later Italian President Sergio Mattarella will host a lunch at the Quirinal Palace, one of his official residences.
The last event scheduled will be a "March for Europe", a parallel celebration ending in front of the Coliseum, which around 5,000 people are expected to attend in support of the community integration project.
The events will mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome with which the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands founded the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community.
The commemoration will take place amid strong security measures, with central Rome heavily guarded by 7,000 military and police personnel, as well as riot police, snipers and firefighters.
The goal is to minimize the threat of terrorism, especially after the London attack, and avoid disturbances in the six processions that will tour Rome's streets outside of the restricted areas of the Campidoglio and the Quirinal.