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Historical Archives launch new oral history series

Posted on 19 March 2018

The Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) is launching a new series of their oral history project, entitled ‘Leaders beyond the State’ to record the experiences of European leaders in transnational government for research purposes.

The series will consist of private interviews with former presidents of European institutions and compliments a series of events with the same name organized by the School of Transnational Governance at the EUI, in collaboration with the Department of History and Civilization and the HAEU. The interviews will be made available for research, as a part of our oral history project.

The first interview of the series was conducted with Hans-Gert Pöttering, former President of the European Parliament on 12 December 2017 and was recently published in our holdings.

“He very effectively linked European unification with equality, solidarity and peace. All values that I always thought were convergent in the European Union but very few people were able to express that as effectively as he did,” says Prof Luciano Bardi, part-time Professor at the Alcide De Gasperi Centre, who interviewed the former EP President. “Overall I was very impressed with his ability to remember events that go back to the beginning of his career.  I could easily say, although I’ve done many such interviews, that it was the best one I’ve ever done.”

During President Pöttering’s trip to Florence, he also received the chance to visit our archives. He was presented with the files of Alcide De Gasperi, including De Gasperi’s copy of the Draft Peace Treaty. He took a particular interest in the correspondence between the Italian statesman and Konrad Adenauer.

Additionally he was also shown documents from the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, specifically a speech by Konrad Adenauer in September 1952 during the first Session of the Assembly and the Rules for the creation of the Political Group at the EP. The visit ended with a quick tour of the repository where all the archives of the European Union are stored. 

Click here to access the new oral history series ‘Leaders beyond the State’.