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Italy and the EU

Italy’s role in the European integration process

Italy has been one of the protagonists in the path undertaken together with the other founding countries to build a united Europe. In many instances, our country hosted key events in the history of the community when, for example, in Rome in 1957, the EEC and Euratom Treaties were signed in the Sala degli Orazi e Curiazi in the Campidoglio. But this role was played even earlier, when, as early as the autumn of 1941, Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi – then confined to the island of Ventotene – laid down principles in a Manifesto for European Federalism.

A summary of the main Italian milestones in EU history over the last sixty years:

1-3 JUNE 1955 – In Messina, a little less than a year after the death of Alcide De Gasperi – who together with Jean Monnet, Robert Schumann and Konrad Adenauer is to be considered among the founding fathers of the European integration project – the Conference that lays the foundations of the Treaty of Rome takes place. The six foreign ministers of the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community, i.e. Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) decide on the path of economic integration as a means of achieving political union. The ministers welcome the idea of a Common Market and approve the creation of a European Atomic Energy Community.

29-30 MAY 1956 – In Venice, the Foreign Ministers of the same six countries approve the Report of the Committee chaired by the Belgian Foreign Minister Paul Henri Spaak (the so-called Spaak Report), giving rise to an intergovernmental meeting with the task of preparing two treaties, one on the European Economic Community and one on the European Atomic Energy Community.

25 MARCH 1957 – In Rome’s Campidoglio, in the Hall of the Horatii and Curiatii, representatives of the six founding countries sign the two treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The two treaties enter into force in January 1958 after ratification by the respective six parliaments.

3-11 JULY 1958 – In Stresa, Italy, the Agricultural Conference of the six founding countries, attended by agriculture ministers, establishes a European agricultural policy that comes into force in January 1962. The conference defines EU policy in this area, including the free movement of agricultural products.

1 JULY 1970-21 MARCH 1972 – Italian Franco Maria Malfatti is President of the European Commission.

1-2 DECEMBER 1975 – In Rome, the European Council, consisting of the leaders of the nine Member States (after the accession in 1973 of the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland) decides on the election of the European Parliament by universal suffrage. The adoption of a single passport is also decided.

12-13 JUNE 1980 – In Venice, the European Council chaired by Italy approves a number of political declarations and in particular the one, better known as the Venice Declaration on the Middle East, the first sign of a common foreign policy assessment of the member states. Also as a consequence of the second energy crisis affecting the West, the Nine call for Euro-Arab dialogue on energy issues.

28-29 JUNE 1985 – In Milan, the ten-member European Council, following the entry of Greece in 1981, decides to achieve the European single market by the end of 1992 and to this end approves the convening of an intergovernmental conference that will lead to the Single European Act (February 1986), the first EEC institutional reform since the Treaty of Rome.

27-28 OCTOBER 1990 – In Rome, the extraordinary European Council of twelve, with the accession of Spain and Portugal in 1986, concludes with the approval of two documents, one on European Political Union (E.U.) and the other on Monetary Union. On the EPO, the Council expresses the will to gradually transform the Community into a Union. It also decides on the creation of a European citizenship to be added to the national ones.

14-15 DECEMBER 1990 – In Rome, the summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Twelve kicks off the two Intergovernmental Conferences (IGCs) on Political Union and Economic and Monetary Union. The two IGCs will lead to the signing of the Maastricht Treaty (7 February 1992) which marks the birth of the European Union. One of the architects of Maastricht was Guido Carli, then Minister of the Treasury.

29-30 MARCH 1996 – An extraordinary summit of the Fifteen (Austria, Finland and Sweden join the EU in 1995) in Turin inaugurates the Intergovernmental Conference to revise the Maastricht Treaty.

21-22 JUNE 1996 – In Florence, the six-month Italian presidency ends with unanimous recognition for the first stage of the work carried out by the IGC, work that will lead to the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam (2 October 1997).

16 SEPTEMBER 1999 – 21 NOVEMBER 2004 – Italian Romano Prodi is President of the European Commission.

29 OCTOBER 2003 – The inaugural session of the Intergovernmental Conference for the drafting and adoption of the final version of a Constitution for Europe is held in Rome.

29 OCTOBER 2004 – In Rome, the Heads of State and Government and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of 25 Member States and two acceding countries participate in the signing ceremony of the Treaty and the Final Act establishing a Constitution for Europe.

21 JUNE 2005 – The headquarters of EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, is inaugurated in Parma, implementing the Council Decision of 12 and 13 December 2003. The Agency is an independent body that provides scientific advice, information and support to the Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States on food safety risks.

9 MAY 2010 – Italian Mario Monti, former European Commissioner, drafts a report called “A new Strategy for the Single Market” to relaunch the single market, starting with bringing ethics and the economy closer together and pursuing “sustainable, smart and inclusive” development objectives.

1 NOVEMBER 2011 – Italian Mario Draghi is President of the European Central Bank.

1 NOVEMBER 2014 – Italy’s Federica Mogherini is High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

9 FEBRUARY 2016 – In Rome, the Foreign Ministers of the EU Founding Member States (Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) reconfirm their commitment to Europe and the European project, inviting all other Member States to join them.

25 MARCH 2017 – To mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome, the Leaders of the 27 EU countries and the Heads of the EU institutions gather in our capital and sign the ‘Declaration of Rome’, renewing their confidence in the project of an ‘undivided and indivisible’ Union.


Courtesy automated translation