1. Introduction/summary On 14 February 1984, at the request of Altiero Spinelli, the European Parliament approved the draft treaty, which marks the beginning of the process of constitutionalisation of the European Union. This initiative first led to the revision of the treaties establishing the European Community (Single Act, Maastricht Treaty, Amsterdam, Nice) and, later, the Constitutional Treaty of 29 October 2004. Altiero Spinelli began his constitutional attempt (i.e. to give the European Community some sort of constitutional text) at a time when the European Community was involved in negotiations on the amount of the British contribution to the European budget, on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and on the increase of the resources of the Union itself (not to mention the negotiations on the accession of Spain and Portugal). As we can see, these are the same problems that the Union identified in 2005 during the difficult discussions on the financial outlook for the period 2007-2013. The European Parliament has been frustrated that it has no real powers of political influence in the European decision-making process despite direct elections (with the only exceptions, and essentially negative ones, to the power to reject the budget decided by the Council and the power to censor the Commission, but without being able to influence its implementation). Altiero Spinelli, who has eroded his purely consultative function, has decided to lead the European Parliament to become the “main weapon” of the constituent process within the Community and to revive the dynamic that should at least lead to a radical reform of the European institutions, as envisaged in the Treaty of Rome of 1957, if not the immediate adoption of a `European Constitution`. In other words, it decided to take the initiative to give new impetus to the process of European integration by drawing up a `new treaty`, instead of a simple change in detail in the existing treaties. 2.
The Spinelli project, which links the project voted by the European Parliament in February 1984 under the decisive leadership of Altiero Spinelli, allows us to rediscover its extraordinary relevance and at the same time its pioneering influence on the successive changes to the Treaty of Rome. The relevance of the Spinelli project lies at the same time in the method of contracting and in the content of many of its provisions. In the early 1980s, and this is no different from the current situation, the process of European integration was put in place in discussions on Britain`s financial contribution, agricultural policy reform and the increase of its own resources. In addition, the Community has begun its third enlargement to embrace Spain and Portugal, without taking steps to strengthen their institutional mechanisms and powers. On the other hand, the European Parliament was elected by direct universal suffrage in 1979, although its essentially consultative powers remained unchanged.