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The International Relations of Local Authorities

From Institutional Twinning to the Committee of the Regions: Fifty Years of European Integration History


Fabio Zucca

This book examines the innovative and supportive role that the Council of European Municipalities and Regions has played in the process of European integration, focusing on the idea of a federal state centred on municipalities, the basis of Western democracy.
The author’s analysis considers the twinning of cities within Europe to be a political action that will lead to a Europe for its citizens. He argues that the global financial crisis could lead to the break-up of the European unification process and that the way to deal with this challenge is to give local authorities greater involvement in decision-making processes.
The book is the result of research in little known and rarely consulted archives and brings significant new information into the academic sphere. This focus on the local level is increasingly relevant, offering new perspectives on current issues within European integration and explaining the dynamics of a process still under way.


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PART II INTERNATIONAL ACTION 109 CHAPTER 3 Twinnings for European Unity The Case of Florence1 The AICCE was created in January 1952 thanks to the work of Umberto Serafini, the decisive support of the MFE, especially Luciano Bolis2, and Adriano Olivetti’s Movimento Comunità. By April that year, two hundred and twenty eight municipal councils, mayors and governments, including the city government of Florence, had joined the Italian section of the movement of European local institutions.3 The constituent assembly was attended by the engineer Menotti Riccioli, the Tuscan capital’s Councillor for Demographic Services. He was then elected to the interim executive council of the new association of European local institutions,4 the first of many appointments the Tuscan administrator was to hold within the CEM at a national and international level. Menotti Riccioli role is essential for understanding the genesis of Florence joining the newly-created CEM and of the city’s first twinning. He was born in 1882 and died in 1969, and graduated in industrial engineering in Turin in 1907. Born to a family inspired by Mazzini and 1 With reference to this chapter, I must express my most heartfelt thanks to Lando Conti, a descendent of Menotti Riccioli, one of the leading Florentine players in this historical reconstruction; to Gianfranco Martini, a federalist director of the AICCRE and for many years politically responsible for the twinnings of the Conseil des Communes et des Régions d’Europe; to Gastone Bonzagni, always a federalist militant; and to the Giorgio La Pira Foundation...

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