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Memoria e Ricerca

European Society, Culture and Mass-media. The eec Commissioner Altiero Spinelli's Memorandum (december 1972)

di Francesco Gui
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 6 (2000), p. 29

In late November 1972, the then eec commissioner Altiero Spinelli submitted a long document to his colleagues for approval. Better, the documents were two, strictly connected. The first bore the title Bilan et perspectives: activité du Groupe "Enseignement et Education" (Communication de M. Spinelli) and was a description of what Spinelli and his staff had done in the field of education. In short, bymeans of the concise "Communication", the Commissioner informed the eec executive body about his initiatives brought about by a group of four high ranking functionaries, led by Spinelli himself, who had the task to pave the first steps of a Community education policy. Among the accomplishments of the "Groupe", maybe the most relevant of all, there was precisely the second document, namely the "Memorandum de la Commission au Conseil des Communautés européennes. Pour une action communautaire dans le domaine de la culture (projet présenté par M. Spinelli)", that had been attached to the "Communication", owing to its value. Both texts were put on the agenda of the Commission (and approved) on the 6th of December, so that they could be sent to the Council for final adoption. Actually, Spinelly was perfectly aware that the Community was on the eve of its first enlargement, the one to England, Ireland and Denmark, that was going to start at the beginning of next January. In fact, as he wrote on his "Diario Europeo", his purpose was to launch new ideas for the new phase of European life, and the memorandum was one of them. From this point of view, although neither the words of eec treaties nor the will of governments allowed the formal setup a common cultural policy, a possible Community initiative on culture was deemed to enhance the sense of unity among the citizens of the Nine and to strenghten their loyalty to their common institutions.