In the morning, hundreds of European federalists coming from different Italian regions, together with the Italian Radical Party and the Italian association for Esperanto, animated a demonstration calling for a European referendum. The presidium took place at the Corsia Agonale in front of Palazzo Madama, seat of the Italian Senate and of the celebrations of the Rome Treaties.
The flags of the federalist movement and of the European Union, banners and slogans calling for a European referendum and a European Constitution, were heard by various personalities coming out of the Senate. Many of those, such as Romano Prodi (Prime Minister of Italy), Tommaso Padoa Schioppa (Italian Minister for Economic Affairs), Jo Leinen (President of Commission for Constitutional Affairs in the European Parliament), replied and approached the participants.
The petition proposed by the federalists was signed by several representatives of the Italian and European political arena, among them were: Valery Giscard d’Estaing, President of the European Convention, Emma Bonino, Italian Minister for European Affairs, Giuseppe Pisanu, Foreign Affairs Commission of the Italian Senate, Marco Pannella, Member of the European Parliament, Andrea Manzella, President of the Commission on EU Policies of the Italian Senate, Valerio Zanone, President of the Italian Council of the European Movement and Member of the Italian Senate, Rita Bernardini, Italian Secretary of the Radical Party, Sandro Gozi, Commission on EU Policies of the Italian Chamber of Representatives, Tana De Zulueta, Member of the Italian Chamber of Representatives, Elena Paciotti, President of the Elio Basso Foundation and Member of the European Convention as well as Alfonso Andria, Member of the European Parliament.
The Secretary General of the European Federalist Movement (MFE), Giorgio Anselmi, was invited to enter the Senate, where he held a meeting with the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering. During the demonstration, several participants were interviewed by TV reporters coming from Switzerland and Estonia and by the Italian national radio Radio Radicale. Also a delegation of young representatives of Italia dei Valori (Italian Party) was present, and had a meeting with the Secretary General of JEF Italy, Massimo Contri.
In the afternoon the federalists collected several hundreds of signatures in four different sites in Rome: Piazza Navona, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Piazza Montecitorio, Piazza della Minerva, receiving several expressions of consensus by the majority of the citizens, Italian and European, on the motivations and goals of the Campaign, well illustrated in the banners and in the leaflets which were distributed. In the meantime, the President Montani and the Vice-Secretary Vallinoto, of the European Federalist Movement (MFE), met a delegation of Rifondazione Comunista (the Italian extreme left party).
The event has shown the general support surrounding the proposal for a European referendum, which is increasing within the political forces. This proposal is quickly gathering more and more support among the citizens, who welcome favourably the perspective of involving the European people in the process that has to give Europe a Constitution, effectively summarised in the slogan of the Campaign: “Let the European people decide!”.
This article was translated from Italian by Elena Montani.