Thousands march in London against looming Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 of the European Union treaty on Wednesday (March 29), which will set the formal proceedings of Brexit on motion.

"We have a plan for Britain", Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday adding that part of that was "delivering on Brexit in getting the right deal for Britain overseas and Europe".

The Unite for Europe March started nearly simultaneously with another meeting in Italy's capital Rome where the leaders of 27 remaining states of the bloc signed a declaration of unity.

They also laid out a vision for the European Union in which member states can choose to cooperate more closely on certain issues, allowing groups of countries to move towards deeper integration at multiple speeds.

Brexit has also sparked a round of soul-searching in the European Union, even fears of a wider break-up.

"There have been too many mistakes, it is not complete, it is often removed from real issues, divided, powerless, too bureaucratic", Tajani said on Saturday, according to Euronews.

"A deal will take a lot more time, goodwill and tact than has been on display from either side", he said.

"Where generations longed to see the fall of those signs of forced hostility, these days we debate how to keep out the "dangers" of our time, beginning with the long file of women, men and children fleeing war and poverty, seeking only a future for themselves and their loved ones", he said.

Between short videos documenting how the EU had salvaged Europe from a tragic history of bloodshed, Gentolini, along with European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, and the prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, spoke of the debt owed to the founding fathers, and the importance of cooperation.

The U.K. government will trigger the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - the official start of exit negotiations on March 29, by sending a letter to the EU.

At the end of the session, all 27 leaders signed a new Rome Declaration saying that "European unity is a bold, farsighted endeavor".

"Europe is our common future", the declaration said.

"Europe as a political entity will either be united, or will not be at all", Tusk said, adding that "the unity of Europe is not a bureaucratic model".

French President Francois Hollande said the message from Rome was, "we're stronger together", while German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed: "a great day for Europe".

European Council chief Donald Tusk hammered the point home, asking: "Why should we lose our trust in the goal of unity today?"

CNN's Barbie Nadeau said that "the whole goal of these celebrations today is for European leaders to get together and show a courageous face going forward".

Organisers said in a statement: "We will not be intimidated".

Leaders stressed that Greece would not be left behind as the declaration makes reference to creating a "social Europe", making it a priority for the bloc to promote social equality, including by reducing unemployment.

  • Leroy Wright