Adonnino Committee

The Committee for a People’s Europe – known as the Adonnino Committee – was set up by the European Council meeting in Fontainebleau in June 1984. Chaired by Pietro Adonnino, a former Italian Christian Democrat Member of the European Parliament (MEP), the committee was comprised of personal representatives of the EC heads of government, including Max Gallo, the French writer, and David Williamson, a future Secretary General of the European Commission. It submitted an interim report to the European Council in March 1985, and a longer, final text, entitled A People’s Europe, in June the same year. It made a number of recommendations designed to enable the citizen to enjoy more visible benefits from the process of European integration and to build a stronger sense of European identity.

Certain of the Adonnino Committee’s proposals – notably for greater free movement of persons, mutual recognition of qualifications, freedom of establishment, and an increase in tax-paid allowances for intra-Community travellers – were already being developed as part of the Commission’s programme for a barrier-free single market, set out in the parallel Cockfield White Paper of June 1985. Equally, the institution of a common-format European passport and driving licence was already under way by the time the committee endorsed them. However, its proposal that the European flag and European anthem, previously the preserve of the Council of Europe, should be adopted by the Community was quickly confirmed at the Milan European Council in June 1985. Other more innovative ideas – such as advocacy of the notion of European citizenship or creation of a European Ombudsman – were to bear fruit some years later, in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. The long-planned adoption of a uniform electoral system for the European Parliament was only realized, and then in partial form, in 1998 and 2002. The committee’s support for common postage stamps and a Europe-wide lottery (to fund the arts) found less favour.

September 2012

Copyright: Anthony Teasdale, 2012

Citation: The Penguin Companion to European Union (2012), additional website entry

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