Sixty years ago, on the 25 March 1957, in a day of rain, the representatives of Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and West Germany (at that time the wall was definitely solid) convened in the hall of the Horatii and Curiatii, in Campidoglio, to sign the Treaties that gave life to the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. It was the embryo of that union which has then travelled winding roads but has in some way guaranteed, despite so many distinction, difficulties and diffidence, a lasting peace to a large part of the Old Continent, widening up to 28 members. Despite the Brexit, Rome prepares to celebrate the event between imposing security measures, populist bellyaches, alarm for terrorism and refusal of a suffocating bureaucracy. Important appointments that will start already today.
Today from 10.30 to 13.00 the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, the vice-presidents and the chairmen of the political groups of the Parliament will pay an institutional visit in Norcia, where they will meet local authorities and civil society.
At 6 p.m. the leaders of the 27 countries will go to the Vatican for the audience with Pope Francis. Even the representatives of the European Institutions will be there: besides Tajani, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Junker, President of the Commission. After the speech of the Prime Minister Gentiloni, and of Tajani, the Holy Father will give an awaited speech before the photo in the Sistine Chapel.
Tomorrow morning the heads of state and government and the leaders of the European institutions will arrive at the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Campidoglio where from 10.00 to 11.20 is provided the commemoration that will end with the signing of the Rome Declaration on the part of the leaders in the Hall of the Horatii and Curiatii. After the ritual photos at 12.00 there will be a press conference with Gentiloni, the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat (Chairman of the EU), Tajani, Juncker and Tusk. At 13.00 the program ends with breakfast at the Quirinale offered by the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella.
Never as in this case we can speak of an armoured city, especially after the terrorist attacks of London and the input arrived this morning from the CASA, the Committee of strategic analysis anti-terrorism: a “further strengthening of the checks in the areas where the ceremonies will take place”. In addition to the sensitive objectives, the “places with greater influx of people” are under special observation. The same Mario Parente, director of the Aisi, Information Agency for internal security, in the course of about three hours of hearings before the parliamentary committee for the security of the Republic, said that the greatest risks are linked to the danger that some individuals may infiltrate the marches and take advantage of the forms of peaceful dissent to perform violent actions and damages. The area monitored with greater attention remains the one of the social centres, in particular 100-200 activists who could participate in one of the demonstrations of tomorrow.
The security measures
In the field will be deployed 5 thousand men and women of the public security forces, engaged already since yesterday in the reclamation of the areas concerned by the events and of the neighbouring ones. Together with them: marksmen, bomb squads, dogs and camcorders drones (a hundred).
The off-limits zones
The area reserved to the sole official celebrations will be “Blue” (not red, in homage to the colours of the European flag) and will include Piazza Venezia, Piazza dell’Ara Coeli, Piazza San Marco, part of Via Petroselli, the Fori Imperiali and Piazza Madonna di Loreto. It will be attended from the early hours of today and prohibited to vehicular traffic from 00.30 of Saturday; from the same time the pedestrian transit will be allowed “only to authorised people” and after the appropriate controls. The “Green Zone” will include via 4 Novembre, Largo Magnanapoli and Via Nazionale, will go along Piazza delle Repubblica and down up to via del Corso along Via del Tritone: the area, operational from 7.00 tomorrow, will be inhibited to traffic from 7.30 on Saturday.
Bus diverted and metro stations closed
From 00.30 tomorrow the public transport stops and terminals present in the two areas will be suspended; closed even the “Colosseo” stop of the metro line B and the stops “Spain” and “Barberini” of the metro line A starting from the last route of the evening of the 24 March and for the whole day of the 25. Closed from 19.00 hrs today and for all Saturday Foro Romano, Foro Palatino, Fori Imperiali, Foro and the Markets of Trajan, Teatro Marcello (limited to the access of via del Teatro di Marcello), the Coliseum, the Domus Aurea, Domus Romane, Capitoline Museums, Complex of the Vittoriano and Scuderie del Quirinale.
No fly zone
From 8.00 today “up to the end of needs” the overflying on the areas concerned by the events “will be denied to non-commercial traffic” (in jargon, we say “no fly zone”). From 00.00 to 24.00 tomorrow, instead, “will be prohibited the access of any vehicle used for the transport of goods (including those of lower mass of 3,5 tonnes) in all the ZTL of historic centre”; from 6.00 hrs today and until 24.00 hrs of the 25, throughout the region delimited by the ZTL called “ring rail” “the transport of dangerous goods will be forbidden (weapons, explosives, fuels)”.
Four marches and two sit-ins should bring in the streets between 25,000 and 30,000 people, even if the after-London fears could push somebody to reconsider. The greatest risk is the one of the “professional clashers” joining the events perpetrating acts of violence. However only few tens should be the ‘Black Bloc‘ arriving from abroad: more attractive showcases for them seem to be the G7 of Taormina in May and the G20 of Hamburg in July. Participants to the marches must “leave, before the demonstrations, helmets and headgear”; prohibited the use of “clothing suitable for misrepresentation or useful to prevent identification” and “the use of firecrackers or other explosive material”. Backpacks and bags will be “all checked by the police”. Four will be the authorized marches on Saturday: at 11.00 the participants in the march of the European Federalist Movement will gather at the Mouth of Truth and then reach the Arch of Constantine; here they will reunite with the procession of Europa Nostra, that will leave always at 11.00 from piazza Vittorio. In the afternoon, at 14.00 the march of “Eurostop” will leave from Piazza Porta San Paolo, traveling Via Marmorata, via Luca Della Robbia and Lungotevere Aventino: final stage, Mouth of Truth. And this is what it is announced to be the most numerous, with about 8 thousand participants. And it is also considered to be the most exposed to the risk of infiltration, to the point that the promoters have invited the inhabitants of Testaccio, the historic district that will be crossed by the procession, “to reject alarmism and the climate of terror around a peaceful and popular demonstration”. At 15.00, finally, the march of Azione Nazionale will start from piazza dell’Esquilino and will end in via dei Fori Imperiali. The two sit-ins will take place instead from 10.00 to 15.00 at the Auditorium Angelicum (Azione Nazionale) and at 15.00 in piazzale Tiburtino (Communist Party).