For Immediate Release
Brussels, 22 August 2016
Ahead of today's meeting on the Italian island of Ventotene, the European Green Party Co-Chair Monica Frassoni comments:
“The choice made by Matteo Renzi to hold the meeting with President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel in Ventotene is highly significant. It was in Ventotene that three young prisoners of the fascists, Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni wrote what would become the very first political Manifesto calling for the democratic unification of Europe and shared sovereignty as the antidote to war and totalitarism. If one considers that the Manifesto ‘for a free and united Europe’ was written in 1941 when the victory of Hitler seemed still possible by people who had spent in prison an important part of their youth, one understands the power and the ambition of their vision. Ambition and vision is exactly what we need today. Together with change and unity.
“Each of the three leaders who will meet in Ventotene has a different in some cases contradictory agenda. But they all need a functioning and credible EU if they are to defeat the voices of those who are gaining consensus in their countries on the illusion that closing up of societies and the building of new walls is the answer to economic and social distress.
“This meeting could end up being just a personal favor to Renzi by Hollande and Merkel, to support the Italian Prime Minister in a difficult economic and political moment, ahead of the referendum on the constitutional reform which will take place in November and in the midst of a difficult negotiation on debt reduction. Or it could be the opening to a change in the way in which the EU acts and the priorities of its actions. Change means to decisively go out of austerity policies and a rigid interpretation of rules which over the last years made the crisis even worse in many parts of the EU and choose in favor of an ecological transformation of our economies out of fossil fuels and towards a green revolution of our cities and economies. It means to take the responsibilities of the richest continent on earth and devolve more resources and care to those running away from wars and hunger; it means to define a common security strategy in which human rights and democracy are not just empty words. It means to reject the idea to be blocked in an endless discussion on how the UK will leave the EU and accept to openly challenge the intention of several member states governments, notably some of the newest ones, to further weaken common decision making and dismantle common policies.
“This ‘reset’ will not come about only with the action of a new directory of three national leaders. It will need the involvement and commitment of European institutions and citizens. In the current situation the latter will be the most difficult task. But I am convinced that the message from Ventotene is still the right one.