Rome/Brussels – As European leaders prepare to celebrate the foundation of the European Union in Rome 60 years ago, Greenpeace activists kicked off three days of public demonstrations and events by displaying a giant 100m2 banner from a piazza overlooking the centre of the ancient city.

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The banner was placed on the Pincio terrace, close to where European leaders signed the Treaty of Rome on 25 March 1957. It depicts a fluttering EU flag revealing a solar panel, and reads: “After 60 years: a better Europe to save the climate.”

Greenpeace EU deputy director Saskia Richartz said: “A better Europe is possible and necessary. By putting people and the planet ahead of narrow corporate interests, our governments can restore trust in democracy. By enabling people to produce their own renewable energy, the EU can break free from fossil fuels. By reaching out to those in need, we can build bridges and tear down the walls that divide us. Only then can we breathe new life into Europe.”

Richartz added: “For all its achievements since 1957, the EU’s current response to many global challenges is woefully inadequate. The future of Europe and our planet is at stake and the Rome celebrations can’t just be a photo op. They must signal a change of direction. It is all to play for, and every one of us can make a difference.”

Over the next three days, Rome will host dozens of citizen-led debates, protests and exhibitions charting a different course for the European Union. Greenpeace will join people from all over Europe and hundreds of civil society organisations for a march on Saturday in Rome, in support of a united, sustainable and democratic Europe.

Contact: Greenpeace EU press desk – +32 (0)2 274 1911, [email protected]

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Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.