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New oral history programme "The European Commission 1986-2000. Memories of an institution"

Posted on 26 October 2020

On the occasion of World Day for Audiovisual Heritage held on 27 October, the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) has now published the oral history programme “The European Commission 19986-2000. Memories of an Institution” comprising more than 200 interviews with senior EU officials and now available for research on the HAEU oral history database. 

This oral history programme was launched in relation to the publication The European Commission 1986-2000: History and memories of an institution (2019), the third volume on the history of the European Commission. The project was carried out by an international team of historians, under the direction of Vincent Dujardin, Éric Bussière, Piers Ludlow, Federico Romero, Dieter Schlenker and Antonio Varsori. Fifty-two professors and researchers, belonging to more than thirty universities or research centers in Europe and beyond, participated in the work of this consortium. The Alcide De Gasperi Research Center (EUI) contributed to the volume, coordinated interviews with former commissioners and senior officials, and facilitated access to the archival sources preserved at the HAEU.

The Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) provided technical assistance to the project secretariat at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, and prepared the inventory and online access to the oral history programme. The digital platform provides access to the interviews for consultation, according to the specific rules established by the interviewees and the institutions concerned. The interviews are complemented by a brief summary and a biographical note, and are made available to users in the form of audio recordings and transcripts.

This new oral history material constitutes a rich source of information on the history of the European Commission and other EU institutions, as well as on the experiences and memories of the men and women working in these institutions in the years 1986 to 2000, including important figures like Jacques Delors, Jacques Santer, and Romano Prodi. This new set of interviews enriches and elevates the collection of interviews to more than 900 oral history recordings preserved at the HAEU and made available for research in digital format.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, which takes place annually on 27 October, is an initiative of UNESCO and the Coordinating Council of the Audiovisual Archives Association (CCAAA). This day aims to honor the professionals and institutions in audiovisual preservation, who safeguard this heritage for future generations. It is also an opportunity to discover the abundance of audiovisual material available around the world, as well as to discuss the vulnerability, peculiarities and technical characteristics of these very specific types of documents.

Consult the oral history programme “The European Commission 1986-2000. Memories of an institution”.