Spinelli, Altiero

   Born in Rome, Spinelli’s early political activity was as a member of the Federazione Giovanile Comunista Italiana/Italian Communist Youth Federation (FGCI). He was arrested and sentenced by the special tribunal to 10 years’ imprisonment and to confino for six more in 1927. On his release, he left the Partito Comunista Italiano/Italian Communist Party (PCI) because of the Stalinist purges. Together with Ernesto Rossi, his fellow prisoner on the isle of Ventotene, he wrote the Manifesto for a Free United Europe (1941) and led the Federalist movement, first from Paris, then from Switzerland, during the years before the Resistance, which he joined in Milan, where he also joined the Partito d’Azione/Action Party (PdA). Spinelli left its secretariat in 1946 to become secretary of the European Federalist Movement. In that capacity he worked closely with Alcide De Gasperi, Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium, Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, and Jean Monnet of France toward the building of a more united Europe. He was particularly influential in 1952–1953, when he persuaded the Italian government to press for the possibility of the creation of a European Political Community as part of the treaty establishing a European Defense Community. Spinelli directed the Italian Institute of International Affairs between 1967 and 1970, when he became a member of the European Commission, where he stayed until 1976. In that year he won a seat in the Chamber of Deputies as an independent on the PCI ticket, and he repeated that victory in 1979. Simultaneously, he served in the European Parliament, and was elected to that body in 1979. During his time as a member of the European Parliament he was the inspirer of the draft “Treaty on European Union,” which the Parliament presented to the national governments in February 1984. Spinelli died in Rome in May 1986.
   See also European Integration.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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