PRESS RELEASE: Let’s revive the spirit of the Ventotene Manifesto!

Brussels, 22 January 2021

UEF President Sandro GOZI: “We must get inspired and revive the spirit of the Ventotene Manifesto to push for a new European democratic transformation.”

In 1941, while imprisoned on Ventotene island just off the coast of Italy, the intellectuals Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni penned ‘For a Free and United Europe’, a founding text urging for the creation of a united Europe built on federalist principles. This document, also known as the Ventotene Manifesto, was distributed among the European resistance thanks to Ursula Hirschmann, a German anti-fascist activist who managed to smuggle it from the island. In January 1944, a mimeographed clandestine edition of the Manifesto appeared in Rome.

All they had the courage, the imagination, and the irreverent genius to look up beyond the horizon of the present moment. They had the courage to imagine Europe and a future world in which civil rights and fraternity among all people would be at the center of social life and politics. 

Back then, the authors of the Ventotene Manifesto called for “new people” to realise a free and united Europe, but, after 81 years, it is still an ongoing process to build a European identity united in shared values and solidarity through the founding of a political union of the 27 member states. Elements of this are visible, as in the unity that has been demonstrated during the COVID crisis.

We must now take advantage of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which was launched on 9 May 2021 in Strasbourg with civil society and citizens, in order to move forward a more sovereign, democratic and stronger EU. We expect, and as UEF are committed to, in particular, the start of a further deepening of the European Union and its transformation into a true European federation.

On the 81 Anniversary of the Ventotene Manifesto, we, the federalists, want to revive the Ventotene legacy and its spirit building a united Europe of freedom, equality and human rights in which each and every one of us can say “I belong”.” As stated in the last line of the Ventotene Manifesto, the road won’t be easy, but UEF will keep striving to develop Spinelli’s ideas. 

Anna Echterhoff
Secretary General