European Federalists' History

UEF has been active at the European, national and local levels for more than 65 years. It was founded shortly after World War II with the belief that only a European Federation, based on the idea of unity in diversity, could overcome the division of the European continent that had caused the suffering and destruction of the two World Wars.

Federalists believe that only a common effort of European citizens working towards this goal could create a peaceful and democratic Europe guaranteeing freedom and the protection of human rights.

1941-03-25 15:13:33

March for Europe

The March for Europe in Rome, held on 25 March, was a great success and a sign that Europeans have started to fight back against nationalism and Eurosceptics and want to claim back the European public space with a positive vision of the future of Europe.

1941-06-01 15:13:33

Altiero Spinelli, EU founding father and well-known federalist

During his 16 year's imprisonment on the island of Ventotene by Mussolini’s fascists, Altiero Spinelli and his fellow prisoner Ernesto Rossi wrote a federalist manifesto entitled "Toward a free and united Europe". The Ventotene Manifesto is considered as a founding document for today’s Europe.

1945-03-22 00:00:00

The federalist cloud in the post-war period

A first ‘Conference on European Federation’ was held in Paris with Albert Camus as its opening speaker. The aim was to build a new inter-state system (namely a European federation) in order to preserve the peace after the World War II.

1946-09-15 00:00:00

Federalists Meeting in Hertenstein (Switzerland)

An international group of militant federalists from 14 European countries met in Hertenstein (Switzerland) and worked on the creation of a federalist model for our continent’s future. / in Hertenstein [Switzerland], federalist militants from fourteen European countries, met on the initiative of the Swiss Europa-Union (founded in 1934). The federalist meeting in Hertenstein was held from the 15th to the 22nd of September 1946. Its participants, often originating from the Resistance, had a precise objective: to form a true movement.

1946-09-19 08:09:10

The federalists’ impact in shaping Europe: Winston Churchill's speech

Speaking at the University of Zurich, Winston Churchill proclaimed that ‘the safety of the world requires a new unity in Europe’ and he proposed “a kind of United States of Europe”. It is considered one of the firsts steps to the european integration.

1946-12-15 08:09:10

Establishment of the UEF

On December 15 and 16 in Paris, 1946 UEF was officially brought into life with its function being to co-ordinate and intensify the activities of the different movements and to organize them into a federal structure. The first motto of the organisation: "A united Europe in a united world". The UEF immediately set about coordinating the activities of some 50 national federalist movements already in existence: Europeesche Actie, Europa Union, Federal Union, Movimento federalista europeo, etc. Among the most prominent figures were Henry Frenay, Eugen Kogon, Henri Brugmans, Alexandre Marc and Altiero Spinelli. The UEF quickly attracted almost 100 000 members.

1947-08-27 08:09:10

1st UEF Congress in Montreux

On 27-30 August 1947, federalist ideas, which sought to reduce State sovereignty, were debated at the first Union of European Federalists (UEF) Congress, held in Montreux, Switzerland. The participation of eminent persons and numerous delegations demonstrated the interest in federalist ideas. 16 countries were represented in Montreux, together with some 40 activist groups. The Montreux Congress also served to reaffirm the principle of regional federalism in contrast to the internationalist arguments very fashionable at that time. The general policy motion adopted by the Congress called for the creation of a European federal government. The participants also urged the convening of a mass event involving all the forces active in Europe. Less than a year later, this took the form of The Hague Congress.

1948-03-07 00:00:00

The setting up of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights

At the Congress of Europe, held in The Hague in 1948 and chaired by Winston Churchill, federalists struggled to put over their vision of Europe’s future.

1948-05-07 08:09:10

Congress of Europe

In the Congress of Europe, held in The Hague and chaired by Winston Churchill, federalists struggled to put over their vision of Europe’s future. They agreed to set up the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights.

1948-11-06 08:09:10

II UEF Congress in Rome

II UEF Congress in Rome

1949-02-23 08:09:10

Establishement of the Movimento Federalista Europeo (MFE)

After being released, Altiero Spinelli established the Movimento Federalista Europeo (MFE) in Milan.

1949-10-31 00:00:00

Campaign for the European Federal Pact 1949 - 1950

The proposal for a campaign for the federal union of Europe Pact was forwarded by the Italian MFE and accepted by the UEF the 31st October 1949, at its Extraordinary General Meeting in Paris, where (UEF) decided to launch a public campaign in support of the Federal Pact which it intended to submit to the Council of Europe. This approved the outline of a federal union pact, which was a schematic plan of a federal constitution.

1950-05-09 08:13:39

Robert Schuman's plan - the federalists’ impact in shaping Europe

At the Salon de l’Horloge, Paris, Robert Schuman launched the Coal and Steel Community (designed by Jean Monnet) inspired by federalists principles and aiming to lead, in the long run, to a ‘European Federation’.

1950-08-24 13:38:38

Demonstration for the European Union in Strasbourg

While Winston Churchill joins Robert Schuman and Paul Reynoud at the second session of the Council of Europe's Consultative Assembly, a group of French and German students, together with other European friends, meet up at Weiler and Zollamt, after having broken off the barriers separating their countries! Watch the video!

1950-11-18 08:13:39

III UEF Congress in Strasbourg

1951-12-21 13:38:38

European federalists receive De Gasperi

In 1951, during a session of Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Schuman proposes the institution of a cabinet of ministers, while Belgian minister Van Zeeland suggests as priorities the institution of a Coal and Steel Community, the unificati on of European defence and the empowerment of Council of Europe. In Rome a group of European federalists received De Gasperi, who agreed on Prime Minister's positions on European integration.

1952-04-28 08:13:39

IV UEF Congress in Aachen

1954-02-08 11:41:52

Federalist flag waving on the Dome in Milan

In 1952 federalist activists put the European Federalists' flag on top of the main pinnacle of the Milan Dome! - "Watch out!" The guard in the video shootage warns: "Ehi! Ehi! You cannot stay up here, even if you pay!" But it's already too late. The mission is accomplished! The green "E" flag towers above Milan!

1954-03-25 01:47:19

Demonstration for a United Europe!

In March of 1954, European federalists from France and Germany organised a demonstration in support of Europe without borders. The bar between the customs is raised and German and French protesters exchange greetings and hugs. Unity and solidarity beyond borders!

1954-04-25 04:01:02

For a free and united Europe against any border

At Ponte San Luigi (Italian-French border) European federalists from Italy, France and Germany gathered to show their support for a free and united Europe without borders. They showed that unity can be an instrument of peace and democracy. These two events were widely echoed in the national press and radio.

1956-01-21 04:01:02

V UEF Congress in Paris

1956-03-02 04:01:02

VI UEF Congress in Luxembourg

1956-07-01 15:13:33

Campaign: The Congress of the European People

The Congress of the European People: calls for a European constituent assembly to be directly elected by the citizens and mandated to draw up a draft federal constitution which would then be submitted for ratification by means of a European-wide referendum.

1959-01-09 15:13:33

Congress of the AEF in Wiesbaden

1959-07-03 00:09:46

The Congress of the European People (1956-1962)

The Congress of the European People was a great popular campaign calling for a European constituent assembly to be directly elected by the citizens and mandated to draw up a draft federal constitution which would then be submitted for ratification by means of a European-wide referendum. During the Stresa convention in 1956 a plan was drafted.

1959-07-28 15:13:33

VII UEF Congress in Paris: Renamed MFE

1960-06-03 15:13:33

I MFE Congress in Strasbourg

1962-03-10 15:13:33

II MFE Congress in Lyon

1964-05-02 15:13:33

III MFE Congress in Montreux

1966-01-11 15:13:33

IV MFE Congress in Turin

1967-07-03 00:09:46

Campaign for direct elections to the European Parliament 1967 - 1972

The campaign for the European election – conducted by the UEF in close collaboration with the European Movement, whose president between 1968 and 1972 was the former president of the Commission of the EEC Walter Hallstein (1901-1982) – was carried out without interruption with the undertaking of various initiatives aiming to mobilise public opinion. The most notable of which include: the “Frontier” action, promoted by the German federalists; the European Democratic Front, promoted by the French federalists; the proposed bill of popular initiative (signed by 65,000 with authenticated signatures) for the direct election of Italian representatives in the European Parliament, presented to the Senate in 1969 by the Italian MFE led by Mario Alberini (1919-1997); the demonstrations of thousands of people, organised together with the JEF, and called counter summits, in Rome in June 1967, in the Hague in December 1969 and in Paris in October 1972, in conjunction with the conferences of heads of state and the governments of the community countries held in these cities.

1969-05-17 15:13:33

V MFE Congress in Trieste

1969-12-03 10:09:25

Demonstration against the crisis of European integration

In 1969, Professor Carlo Alberto Graziani, protesting against the crisis of European integration, climbs on top of the 40 meters tall Antonine Column in Rome waving the European federalists' flag for 24 hours! Professor Graziani, who is an experienced mountain climber, is no stranger to this kind of actions. In 1965 he put the federalist flag onto the peak of the Mont Blanc - 4810m of untouchable federalist passion!

1971-07-14 14:56:37

Étienne Hirsch becomes the UEF President

Étienne Hirsch (24/01/1901 - May 1994) was elected on 3 May in 1964 and was serving the UEF until 20 April 1975.

1972-04-07 15:13:33

VI MFE Congress in Nancy

1972-05-13 15:13:33

Comité Commun

1973-04-15 15:13:33

MFE/AEF Reunification Congress in Brussels

1975-04-20 14:59:47

Mario Albertini elected president of the UEF

Mario Albertini (23/02/1919 - 20/02/1997) becomes president of the UEF on 20 April 1975 and serves the organisation until 9 December 1984.

1975-04-20 15:13:33

VIII UEF Congress in Brussels

1977-06-11 15:13:33

IX UEF Congress in Brussels

1977-12-05 08:13:39

Demonstration on the single currency

Demonstration in favour of elections based on universal suffrage for the European Parliament and of the single currency during the European Council meeting on 5 and 6 December 1977.

1979-06-10 08:13:39

A directly elected European Parliament, a federalist cause

The EP -previously Assembly- originally consisted of selected members of member states’ parliaments and it only exercised ‘supervisory’ powers but pressure from the UEF and other federalist organisations led to MEPs now being directly elected using a common electoral system. Thanks to the popular legitimacy suffrage bestows, the EP kept on gaining influence in the EU system. Meanwhile federalists continue to campaign for a further reform of the European Union’s democratic structures and a more direct link between the EP and its citizens.

1980-03-16 15:13:33

X UEF Congress in Strasbourg

1982-12-03 15:13:33

XI UEF Congress in Milan

1984-12-07 14:59:47

John Pinder becomes president of the UEF

John Pinder hold the position until April 1989, when Francesco Rossolillo was appointed the new president.

1984-12-07 15:13:33

XII UEF Congress in Cologne

1985-02-17 08:09:10

Adoption of the Single European Ac

The European federalists had a decisive influence on the creation and adoption of the Single European Act. Supported by the UEF, Altiero Spinelli persuaded the elected European Parliament to agree its own text for a Draft Treaty for a European Union [signed in Luxembourg and The Hague in 1986], renamed the Single European Act. It became effective the 1th July 1987

1985-06-28 08:09:10

The most spectacular demonstration in Milan with 200,000 participants

The most spectacular demonstration in Milan with 200,000 participants is the biggest popular demonstration in the history of the federalist struggle – in conjunction with the European Council of June 28 and 29 1985, where the majority decided to call an Intergovernmental Conference to review to Community treaties and heads of government to support the Single European Act.

1985-12-02 08:09:10

In favour of the European Union

Demonstration by European federalists in favour of the European Union.

1985-12-03 08:09:10

The Schengen area, a federalist fight

Demonstration by European federalists in favour of the European Union and the suppression of Customs. Gathering peacefully at the Franco-German border near Strasbourg they demonstrated their wish to see a united Europe by ceremonially burning the wooden barriers at the frontier post. The Schengen area fulfills the dream which motivated an international group of young federalists back in 1950

European Federalists' History

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