The March for Europe in Rome last Saturday (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.
While we prepare a more detailed report, let us summarise the highlights of the event:
- Over 10,000 people participated to the March for Europe and a few thousands more joined at the final event with the march “Our Europe” at Coliseum.
- Groups coming from 24 European cities outside Italy (Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Bern, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Helsinki, Leipzig, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Lyon, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Seville, Sofia, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Vienna, Vilnius, Warsaw) gave a genuine European dimension to the March.
- Over 90 Italian cities were represented by groups of different sizes.
- A large representation of the European Parliament joined the March, with around 50-60 members from all main political parties and different countries (and 20-30 from the Italian parliament).
- A high number of European and Italian personalities attended the event as well (preliminary list).
- The main European political parties were represented at their highest level and took active part in the March and the speeches before the March: the Presidents of the European Socialist Party and the European Green Party, as well as the European Parliament’s group leaders of the Liberals and Democrats, Socialists & Democrats and Greens. The EPP was represented by their most senior members of the European Parliament.
- A few dozens of Italian regions and cities were present with an official delegation and their official flags and banners.
- The many partners of the network March for Europe made a great mobilisation effort and were present with a delegation.
The March looked young, international, colourful, playful, peaceful, positive and forward looking: we were the best image of the Europe we want!
Here you can find the official pictures from the March. Check also galleries prepared by Jon Worth, Francesco Guerzoni, UEF-France, Nicola Vallinoto, Silvestro Reimondo, JEF-Italy and Franklin Kimbimbi.
Press and TV coverage across Europe was very good, as you can see from this preliminary list.
The March was the key event of a package of events organised by the federalist and pro-European organisations and their partners, which included:
- In the morning before the March, our Forum on the Future of Europe (‘Europe Fights Back: Re-gaining Vision, Re-building Trust, Relaunching Unity’) which was packed with participants and high level speakers from the world of culture and politics.
- In the afternoon of the 24th, a conference at Rome III University, organised by the platform of intellectuals supporting the March for Europe, with a number of former prime ministers as speakers.
- Projection of federalist images and slogans on the Coliseum in the evening of the 24th.
- In the afternoon of the 24th, a conference at the Chamber of Deputies organised by JEF, including Federica Mogherini as a key-note speaker.
- In the afternoon and evening of the 24th, a forum of civil society at the La Sapienza University, organised by the Italian European Movement.
Each of these events was a success on its own and contributed to the mobilisation for the March.
The March in Rome was not the only march for Europe. In solidarity with the March in Rome, satellite marches were organised in Aalborg, Berlin, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Edinbourg, Madrid, Warsaw, Paris and Vilnius. In London tens of thousands of people gathered to march through London on the ‘Unite for Europe’ demonstration to oppose Brexit and show continuous support to the European Union. The March showed the vitality and strength of the European Federalist and pro-European movements, we made incredible efforts of promotion and mobilisation across Europe.
With this event we have helped to create a better and positive political climate for the political decisions that will hopefully follow the Rome Declaration. We have accumulated respect and political capital, which will be useful in our advocacy work towards decision-makers and political parties in the coming months. And, last but not least, we have injected new energy in our organisations and our activists.
We thank everyone who contributed to the success of the event, but especially the Italian Movimento Federalista Europeo that did an amazing job politically and organisationally, with a team made only of volunteers and completely self-financing the event, the many Union of European Federalists (UEF) and Young European Federalists (JEF) sections that organised groups to come to Rome. A special thanks goes to the team of the Union of European Federalists Secretariat in Brussels – David, Laura, Adeline, Francesco and Valentina – have worked with passion and dedication to this event for the past few months.