The Ventotene Manifesto

“Now is the time to put down the  foundations  for  a  movement  capable  of  mobilizing  all  forces  to  build  the  new organism which will be the grandest, most innovative creation in Europe for centuries.”

It’s 1941, during World War II: Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni, antifascists, confined in the small island of Ventotene, write the document which will become the inspiration and basis for the future creation of the European Union. The historical moment is dramatic: almost all of Europe, except the UK, is occupied by the Nazi and Fascist armies. The authors of the Manifesto, analyzing the political scenario of the time, assert that WW2 has erupted not because of economic or religious conflicts, but essentially because of the clash between nationalisms. 

The Ventotene Manifesto presents three founding ideas: the overcoming of the division of Europe in sovereign national states, the construction of a new supranational political power, and the overcoming of poverty and misery through the European Federation, which would allow freeing of economic resources. A vision that today could be described as prophetic. The themes of the Ventotene Manifesto, eighty years after its creation, are as current as ever.