This summer, something happened that no one expected: ‘Bella Ciao’, a song which became popular during the second world war and was sung by partisans as their expression of their resistance to fascism, hit the charts again – and remix after remix got popular in order to rush European dancefloors. The Young European Federalists decided to use this opportunity to draw attention to the political character of the original song and composed their own, Maastricht-specific version: ‘Treaty Ciao!’
Bella Ciao - a federalist song?
In fact, the song and the European federalist movement have a shared past. Altiero Spinelli, one of the founding fathers of the EU, wrote the ‘Ventotene Manifesto’ during his time in prison because of his opposition to the Italian fascists. He is counted as one of the most inspiring people and founders of the European federal movement.
Fighting nationalism in order to establish a true democratic European federal republic is the very essence of the then established Union of European Federalists and Young European Federalists. “Thematically, Bella Ciao fits perfectly in what we do: Call for peace and freedom on our mission for a more peaceful world – which we seek to be brought about by among others a more democratic Europe with solidarity as one of its key values” commented Thilo Buchholz, initiator of the project and currently part of the section’s board.
European unity must progress
The slogan of the cover song ‘treaty ciao’ is a reference to the Treaty on European Union signed on 7 February 1992 also known as ‘Maastricht Treaty’. It established the European Union and is one of the most important documents in current European law. With the video being shot in the scenery of Maastricht, the wish for the ‘ever closer union among the peoples of Europe’ (as mentioned in the preamble of the Maastricht Treaty) to be continued and intensified is obvious.
“We wanted to express what our opinion on the current European Union is. In comparison to the second world war, we arrived at a great stage – but yet we’re politically stuck within national borders and boundaries” elaborated Buchholz further on. “The term ‘treaty ciao’ does explicitly not express that we oppose the Maastricht Treaty or the European idea itself – but that the European national states have to advance to a true European constitution with rights for every of us citizens, establishing a federal republic of Europe.”