The Italian politician Altiero Spinelli was one of the fathers of the European Union.
He was the leading figure behind the European Parliament’s proposal for a Treaty
on a federal European Union - the so-called ‘Spinelli Plan’. This was adopted in
1984 by an overwhelming majority in the Parliament and provided an important
inspiration for the strengthening of the EU Treaties in the 1980s and ‘90s.
As a 17-year old, Spinelli joined the Communist Party, as a consequence of which
he was imprisoned by the Italian fascist regime between 1927 and 1943. At the
end of the Second World War, he established the Federalist Movement in Italy.
In his role as adviser to personalities such as De Gasperi, Spaak and Monnet, he
worked for European unification. A trained juror, he also furthered the European
cause in the academic field, and created the Institute for International Affairs in Rome.
As a member of the European Commission he took over the area of internal policy from 1970 to 1976.
For three years he served as a Member of the Italian Parliament for the Communist Party before being elected
to the European Parliament in 1979.