50 Years of the Treaties of Rome

A Walk through the European Council and Europe's history

Through the portrait of Hans Brunmayr, the Chief of the EU Protocol, we look back on the Big and Small history of the European Union, it's achievements and failures.

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EU 50th anniversary : A walk through the European Council and Europe's history

0-22 Exterior European Council/ enters Hans Brunmayr, Head of Protocol

This is the European Union’s key center of power. The European council seats in this building. The most important decisions are taken here, after hours or days of intense negotiations... Hans Brunmayr has seen it all : this Austrian diplomat is in charge of protocol... When the EU Heads of States and Governments come to Brussels, it's his responsability that all goes smoothly.

23-35 Hans Brunmayr, head of protocol of the European Council

Here we are at the VIP entrance of the council building, that's the arrival of heads of states and governments when we have our summit meetings. 2'33

35-53 European summit June 2006, arrivals

Here Hans Brunmayr shakes hands with Italy's Prodi or Luxembourg's Jean Claude Juncker. His role : organising everything during the summit. And reacting quickly when the unexpected arises. For example, when the leaders of the 10 candidate countries came for a dinner he hadn't foreseen...

53-1'16 Hans Brunmayr, head of protocol of the European Council

Suddenly the heads of governments of the candidate countries turned up, I didn't know that they had been invited to a dinner that didn't take place anymore. So you had to improvise and find other solutions. It's not easy and of course if such things happens, the head of protocol has to take the blame on himself.

1'16-1'31 Brunmayr leaves the VIP corner, goes in the lift

The head of protocol is part of the memory of an organisation which is currently celebrating its 50th birthday. During his career behind the scenes, Brunmayr has been a key witness to some of Europe’s achievements and failures.

1'31-1'41 Archives 1945 cities destroyed by the war

The biggest success : within the Union, there's been peace for the last 50 years. It was the main reason behind its creation in the years following the Second world war.

1'41-1'56 signature of the Treaty of Rome

The Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957 by 6 countries... Today, there are 27 members. Bulgariaand Romaniajoined in January 2007. Things have changed a lot...

1'56-2'11 Entry Presidency Lounge

Our guide takes us to one of the most exclusive rooms of the European council building : the presidency lounge... Here, the president of the EU, who changes every 6 months, works to find compromises.

2'11-2'26 Hans Brunmayr

"If there are decisive negotiations, the essential deals are made here. Because you can't make a complicated deal in a meeting room where there are 90 people around the table.

2'26-2'33 Archives 1957 then 2'33-2'42 archives 1993

Along the years, the European Union has achieved a lot. For instance : the single market was created 14 years ago : people, goods and capital can circulate freely inside the Union, as if it was one country. Most member states have also abolished controls at their borders

2'42 Archives first euros, euro coins 2002

Five years ago, 11 member states gave up their national currencies for the Euro... No need to change cash anymore when you travel in the Eurozone, joined this year by Slovenia. .

2'53-3'02 students studying abroad with Erasmus program

The Unionhas deeply transformed the daily life of its citizens. Young people now very easily study abroad, consumers are better protected...

3'02-3'14 Mai 2004 : enlargement celebrations

In 2004, 10 new members, mostly eastern european countries, joined the club. A consequence of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Their leaders now come to summits under the watchful eyes of Hans Brunmayr…

3'14-3'38 Hans Brunmayr

What still has to improve is the mix between the leaders from the old and the new member states. You take some time, not only to adapt to the rules, but to feel at home in this very select circle

3'38-3'59 European council + dinner room

But since the biggest enlargement in its history Europeis in a crisis : the institutions had been created for 6, they can't work with so many members... Leaders meetings are more and more inefficient. They don't have time to discuss... Only the summit dinner gives them some opportunities.

3'49-4'20 Hans Brunmayr

The importance of these dinners is growing, because there you have only the 27 heads around the table. You can still see the other one when he or she speaks, so you have eye contact, it's a another atmosphere, and it's more suitable for real negotiations." 25'01

4'20-4'31 Summit family photo June 2006

Europewill need lots of relaxing dinners to confront the challenges ahead : how to modernize its institutions to welcome the Balkans and Turkey. And of course, how to makes itself more popular...

4'31-4'44 Result of the french referendum on the Constitution, may 2005

Spring 2005, the French and the Dutch say no to the European Constitution... A sign that the citizens don't understand how Europe works, they feel Brussels is too far away. ..

4'45-5'01 Atrium of the European council, Hans Brunmayer leaves in the revolving door.

50 years after the treaty or Rome, a lot remains to be done. But whatever happens will happen without Hans Brunmayr... the Head of protocol will retire in June... A new chapter will begin with a new man at the door of the Council. .

End at 5'05