Reaching its 42nd edition, the Training Seminar, organised by the Municipality of Ventotene in collaboration with the Spinelli Institute and under the patronage of the Province of Latina (Italy), was a new opportunity for in-depth analysis and comparison about the European themes. In recent years, the island of the Manifesto of Ventotene has seen the passage of many new ideas for improving our common path of European integration and for the federalist training of thousands of young people.
On Sunday, 3 September at 5 p.m. in the Terracini Polyvalent Hall, the seminar was opened with a double panel of guests, chaired by Stefano Castagnoli, President of the Spinelli Institute and of Movimento Federalista Europeo, dedicating the speeches to the path marked by the Conference on the Future of Europe and to the proposals that the European Parliament has supported vis-à-vis the Council for the reform of the EU treaties. Present, together with representatives of the municipality, Mayor Caputo, and of the provincial administration, Marco Tomeo, were MEPs Domenec Devesa (President of the European Union of Federalists), Brando Benifei and Fabio Massimo Castaldo, all committed to promoting the positions for a European convention that takes into account the results that the citizens' representatives in the Cofoe have elaborated. Together with the other guests Luisa Trumellini, UEF Vice-President and MFE National Secretary, Antonio Argenziano, JEF President, Matteo Gori, GFE National Secretary, Pier Virgilio Dastoli, President European Movement Italy, Federica Onori, Italian Parliamentary Delegate to the OSCE Assembly, and Gabriele Panizzi, Vice-President Spinelli Institute, a complete picture of the world of institutions and associations fighting for more democracy in a federal sense in Europe was outlined.
The large number of participants at the international seminar (the 39th edition this year) brought enthusiasm with 130 young forces ready to 'stimulate', even after the seminar was over, the construction of a healthy European civic consciousness. The international seminar itself was again enriched this year by the participation of young globalists and the contribution and cooperation of JEF Europe.
During the opening session, the Antonio Saggio Prize, now in its ninth edition, was awarded to Lorenzo Giovanni Melli Merisi by his son Fabrizio Saggio.
The training seminar this year was also complemented by important events thanks to the memory work that organisations such as the Italian Post Office undertake with their philatelic campaigns. In fact, a special cancellation and a commemorative postcard were presented by the Italian Post Office "MFE80" on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the European Federalist Movement and the 42nd edition of the seminar, and an exhibition, "The flag of Europe", the result of a European competition on the values represented by the European flag, which saw the winner Julianne Vella awarded a scholarship for participation in the international seminar.
As every year, tribute was paid to Altiero Spinelli and Luciano Bolis at the Ventotene cemetery.
The seminar featured eight training sessions devoted to the most important themes of European history and institutions, including the great project that was, and is, the Manifesto for a Free and United Europe, the Ventotene Manifesto. The sessions were also dedicated to current issues related to international peace and defence and the necessary reforms for a strategic European autonomy; a specific session was confirmed thanks to the collaboration with the Istituto Affari Internazionali, the Centre for Studies on Federalism and the Einaudi Foundation.
The collaboration with the Trentino De Gasperi Foundation, the Jean Monnet House in Bazoches (Paris) and the Robert Schuman Foundation in Luxembourg is also an important step towards European education, with a meeting held in Ventotene itself in the Council Chamber in the presence of Deputy Mayor Pepe and representatives of the founding fathers' houses, reinforced by experiences such as that of an international seminar held on an experimental basis at the Monnet House last May with the 'Ventotene-Houjarray School' (born from the collaboration between the Spinelli Institute and the Jean Monnet House itself and Eurom). During the training days, the scholarship dedicated to Luigi Vittorio Majocchi was awarded to Francesco Maiolo and, thanks to the contribution of Arci Solidarietà, which presented the "Words of Europe" project financed by the European Union, a scholarship was awarded to Edoardo Pecene. Another scholarship, thanks to the contribution of CGIL, was awarded to Giulia Apuzzo.
In addition to the scheduled speeches on the opening day, the UEF collaborated with the Istituto Spinelli in the realisation of the International Seminar programme with several speeches:
- Luisa Trumellini and Domenec Ruiz Devesa spoke on 4 September in the session "The relevance of the Ventotene manifesto and federalism for the future of the EU".
- Carlo Maria Palermo, PC 4 chair, spoke on 5 September morning on 'Europe facing the return of the war".
- Dafne Gogue, EB member spoke on 5 September on "Federalism to govern globalisation: from international anarchy to common institutions and cooperation".
- Giulia Rossolillo, EB member, and Davide Negri, Communication advisor of UEF, spoke on 7 September in the session on "Elections and beyond: Federalist proposals and campaigns for Treaty Reform".
The seminar concluded on 8 September with a round table entitled 'The role of local and regional authorities and Italy in the process of European integration'. After the institutional speeches by Carmine Caputo, Mayor of Ventotene, and Luca Magliozzi for the Province of Latina, and the Lazio Region with a message by Emanuela Mari, President of the Commission for European Affairs of the Lazio Regional Council, the speeches by Pina Picierno, Vice-President of the European Parliament, followed, coordinated by Mario Leone, Director of the Spinelli Institute, Stefano Castagnoli, President of MFE, Gianluca Bonato, President of GFE, Manuela Bora, former delegate to the Conference on the Future of Europe, Massimiliano Smeriglio, Member of the European Parliament, Francesco Zarzana, Vice-President of ALDA European Association for Local Democracy, Chiara Alicandro, European Citizens Ambassador to COFOE, Marco Gheller, Chanoux Foundation Institute for Federalist and Regional Studies. At the end of the round table, there was a discussion forum of the seminar participants coordinated by the GFE on issues and ideas for the future of Europe. Finally, the annual 'Altiero Spinelli' Journalist Award was presented to Adriana Cerretelli, columnist for Il Sole 24 ore. Council Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani sent a message recalling how 'the participation of the younger generations in initiatives such as today's is crucial, because Europe is concretely built starting from communities and citizens'.
This report is done by Mario Leone and Davide Negri