Together with Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet and the other principal architects of European integration, Spinelli played an active role in the creation of the European Union following the end of the Second World War.
Spinelli was a member of the European Commission and in 1976 became a member of Parliament, remaining one until his death in 1986. With his clear vision of Europe’s potential, he played a major role in strengthening the EU Treaties in the 1980s and 90s.
He took part in the anti-Fascist resistance movement and paid heavily for his involvement with ten years of imprisonment and six years of confinement under Mussolini’s regime. During his exile on the Italian island of Ventotene, Spinelli set out his vision for a united and free Europe in the Ventotene Manifesto. This document is now seen as the precursor to the European Constitution.
A portrait of this political figure, as well as a video clip of one of his speeches, can now be accessed online. So, too, can portraits of other key figures who have shaped the EU. The updated ‘history of the European Union’ website is a virtual journey back in time, retracing the events that led to Europe as we know it today.