>> Gathering in Rome to celebrate the 60th birthday of the European union's founding treaty but without Britain. EU leaders from 27 member states gathering at the Campidoglio palace, determined to demonstrate that the block can survive the impending departure of the major power. Renewing that commitment to want EU chief Claude Junker called an undivided and indivisible union and promising a vision for the next ten years.
Yet face with tens of thousands of anti-EU protesters gathering beyond the tight police quarter. It was here the six founding states signed the treaty of Rome on the 25th of March 1957. Having joined in 1973, Britain will officially confirm its withdrawal on Wednesday. Without this so-called looming Brexit, it might have been a modestly hopeful summit.
All 28 EU economies are Growing after a slump that's blighted the past decade, and recent border chaos' largely abated, as refugees are for now being held in check. But Brexit has undermined the self confidence of a union, that's helped bring peace and prosperity to the continent. And has encouraged Euro-skeptic nationalists to challenge governments across the block.
> At the Vatican on Friday Pope Francis told EU leaders that their union had achieved much in 60 years. He warned though that Europe faced a vacuum of values. And condemned anti-immigrant populism and extremism that he says posed a mortal threat to the block. The Rome Declaration, signed by the 27 office are ringing phrases about peace and unity.
We have united for the better, the text concludes, Europe is our common future. In it, they promise to listen to their citizens. But locked away behind rings of armed police, the leaders may hear little of what these thousands of protesters have to say.