Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, left, greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel during arrivals for an EU summit at the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome on Saturday, March 25, 2017. EU leaders gather in Rome on Saturday to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the EU's founding treaty. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The Latest: Germany mindful of tone with smaller EU nations

March 25, 2017 - 5:23 am

ROME (AP) — The Latest on the European Union summit (all times local):

10:20 a.m.

Germany's foreign minister says that his country must be careful not to be seen as lecturing smaller European Union countries, despite calls for a German leadership role.

Sigmar Gabriel wrote in an article for weekly Der Spiegel's online edition Saturday that "Europe is more than and above all often different from Germany." He added that smaller EU countries should view Germany, the bloc's most populous nation and its biggest economic power, as being interested in them rather than lecturing them.

Gabriel wrote: "We should counter temptations from Beijing, Moscow and Washington, which always want just to speak to us Germans, by noting that we are happy to play an important role and want to take responsibility — but that Europe is far bigger than Germany, and they can only have us together.

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10 a.m.

Residents of Rome are avoiding the city center as authorities brace for the possibility of violent protests during a European Union summit.

Some subway stops are closed, and buses have been rerouted away from the historic heart of the Italian capital hours before several planned marches.

Authorities fear anarchists might infiltrate anti-EU protests set for the afternoon.

Leaders from 27 EU nations gathered on the ancient Capitoline Hill on the 60th anniversary of the founding treaty of the EU, whose unity is now being sorely tested.

One march is organized by far-right opponents to the EU, while another is organized by far-left opponents.

Also scheduled is a pro-EU march, which could draw hundreds of Britons who live in EU countries and fear complications from Britain's exit from the union.

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9:25 a.m.

European Union leaders are gathering in Rome to mark the 60th anniversary of their founding treaty and chart a way ahead following the decision of Britain to leave the 28-nation bloc.

On a day of ceremonies Saturday, the 27 leaders are set to approve a Rome declaration to commit to a united future and see how to deal with the myriad crises which has beset them over the past decade.

It looks like the blueprint will be adopted without any problems after both Poland and Greece lifted their objections on the eve of the summit.

Britain says that it will trigger the negotiations to leave the bloc on March 29, only days after the summit.

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