Obituary: Rinaldo Bontempi, † 2007

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Rinaldo Bontempi was a loyal and caring partner to the Forum.  His open-mindedness and curiosity led him to the Forum in the early 90’s.  Thanks to his communication skills, he managed to convince the European Parliament to agree to discuss a report by a German elected representative, Heinke Salish, on ways of developing measures to prevent petty crime at a time when the competence of the European Commission on this issue was inexistent.  He quickly understood that cities had become key players in security policies.  We shared his fear of seeing the issue of security divide European through immigrants becoming scape-goats for insecurity. The diversity of his skills and his curiosity ensured that we crossed paths on many occasions and he became an essential advisor as much to the Italian Forum as to the European Forum…
He was part of the universalist and humanist Italian nation, open to the world, and first and foremost a politician.  He seemed to sparkle when he looked at you, he listened attentively when you spoke to him, he was from a refined committed generation which knew how to deal with disappointments and disenchantments.  He was a European.
Michel Marcus, Executive Director 

Rinaldo Bontempi was born on January 2nd 1944 in Porte de Pinerolo, a small village of less than 1000 people at the entrance to an important valley in the Alps. He died on the 14th of August 2007 in Turin.
He studied law at the University of Turin, where he first held political and civic responsibilities within university organisations and the University book cooperative.
Following this, he took his first political positions within the Commune.  He was elected Mayor of Porte in 1970 as the main candidate from the left, and was elected a councillor for the Montagnes Val Chisone and Germanasca Community in 1973.
During this period he married Ornella. They had two children together: Costanza and Enrico.
In 1975, he became a member of the Piemonte Regional Council, and only one year later, in 1976, he became President of the PCI in the Regional Council, and subsequently as leader of the largest party, leader of the first left-wing administration in the Piemonte Region. 
He held this position, as well as the position of President of the PCI, for a total of 14 years, until the European Elections in 1989 when he was elected to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.  He was re-elected in 1994 as a PCI member, and then as a member of the PDS.
He was Vice-president of the Commission for Public Freedoms and Home Affairs at the European Parliament and acted as spokesman for many reports, including on the European Community protecting its economic interests, penalties for corruption in the private sector, the creation of a European justice network, European judicial cooperation with regards to crime, and on European police fighting against corruption.      
Since the early 90’s he was among the first Italian politicians to study in detail the issue of Urban safety and to constantly promote debates on initiatives such as a European network of contacts at the highest political and scientific level.  He worked from an early stage with the European Forum for Urban Safety and with the Italian Forum (FISU). 
In Strasbourg, he was also a member of the Commission for Social Affairs, Employment and Work Conditions; of the Delegation for relations with the United Nations; of the Commission for Justice and Citizens’ Rights; of the Delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand; of the Joint Convention Assembly between the states of Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and the European Union (ACP-UE); and was Vice-President of the Inter-parliamentary Delegation for relations with North Africa.
At the same time, in order to ensure a close link between reality in the Piemonte region and the European Parliament, as a bridge between his long experience in the Regional Council and his new experience in Strasbourg, he founded the Centro d’Iniziativa per l’Europa del Piemonte (CIE) of which he became President, and later on, Honorary President.
In 1999, after his second term in the European Parliament had ended, he was re-elected within the CIE Piemonte.
In 2000 he became the President of the international association Conservatoire des Cuisines Méditerranéennes, based in Marseille.  Shortly afterwards, he founded in Turin the Conservatoria delle cucine del Mediterraneo del Piemonte and became its President.
He was also a member of the ECAS (European Citizen Association) in Brussels and was an expert for the European Forum for Urban Safety (EFUS).
In 2000, has was named as representative for the Province of Turin for TOROC, the Organising Committee for the 2006 XX Winter Olympic Games in Turin and he became its Vice-President. He was the person most sensitive to the complex relationship between the Olympics and the mountainous surrounding area and he developed the theme of Olympic heritage through numerous study and exchange initiatives .
The Values Committee, in which Bontempi participated, formed the basis for the Charter of Intents approved by the Turin 2006 Organising Committee.  The first example within the Olympics of a document on social responsibility in sport, the Charter of Intents, which is also reflects on ways of organising and managing large sporting events, represents a significant contribution to the definition of new behaviour, models and ideals.
Lastly, just two years ago, a new challenge presented itself, which once again called upon his regional, national and growing international experience. Bontempi founded the Istituto Euromediterraneo del Nord Ovest Paralleli and became its President.
A new challenge, which was successful from the beginning.
Unfortunately, a challenge that would be his last.

2008-03-20

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