Posted on 25 September 2019
Dr Bastian Matteo Scianna, holder of a research grant from the European People’s Party, conducted research at the HAEU, after having spent a year as Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Fellow of Modern European History at the London School of Economics (LSE). His research is part of his post-doctoral project entitled “Europe without Borders: A History of the Schengen Agreement” and aims to show the crucial influence of both Christian Democrats in national governments as well as the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament (EP) in the process of abolishing border controls between European Community (EC) member states. His first findings were presented at the 2018 Annual Graduate Conference on the History of European Integration at the European University Institute (EUI). We interviewed him to know more about his research advances and his stay at the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU):
What is your research about and how did you come up with this topic?
This research is part of a wider project on the history of the Schengen Agreement. Whilst conducting my research I realised the important role of the European Parliament (EP) and in particular Christian Democratic transnational party networks in creating a “Europe without borders”. This project thus aims to show the crucial influence of both Christian Democrats in national governments as well as the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament (EP) in the process of abolishing border controls between European Community (EC) member states.
Why is it important/relevant (socially and academically) to conduct such research?
Since it came into existence, the Schengen area is frequently named as a highly positive achievement of European integration. Citizens cite the direct experience of borderless travel and how this made their mobility, life and holidays easier. Furthermore, the migration crisis over the past years has shown just how relevant this issue is.
What did you expect to find at the HAEU to help you conduct your research?
The staff at the HAEU has been extremely helpful in tracking down important documents. These were files from the European Parliament and from private fonds, which included both written and oral questions posed by MEPs as well as Committee discussions. More precisely, relevant documents to my research were to be found in the fonds “PE1, Parlement Européen, Première legislature”, especially the files of the sub-series “Marché intérieur de la Communauté (libre circulation des marchandises, personnes, services et capitaux)” and “Transports”.
How did you learn about the EPP Group’s grant to conduct research at the HAEU and what do you think about this opportunity?
I saw the call online and received it via the RICHIE newsletter. I think it is a great opportunity. Given the many archives for my research (and European integration history in general), the financial support is much welcomed. Additionally, I hope the EPP will help me with contacts to former MEPs to conduct interviews.
The Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) in the European Parliament has created a programme of grants for researchers interested in the history and role of Christian Democracy and its impact on decisive moments in the process of European integration. This grant programme is designed to enable researchers to broaden their research by studying the primary sources held at the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence, at the EPP Group’s archives in Brussels and/or at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) in Sankt Augustin - Bonn. You can find more information on the EPP grant and its 2019 edition here.