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Research Projects

The Making of a Lopsided Union: Economic Integration in the European Economic Community, 1957-1992 (EURECON)

The EURECON project aims to explore European policymakers’ views about how to make the organisation of the European Economic Community (EEC) fit for the creation of a single currency, from 1957 to 1992. The project looks at the origins of the issues that are currently bedevilling the EU by investigating the period between the creation of the EEC in 1957 and the decision to create a European single currency in 1992.

Professor Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol is the Principal Investigator of EURECON. The five-year project was financed with a €1.5 million Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for the period 2017-2023. 

Read more about EURECON.

The contribution of the European Parliament to the European project, as seen by the actors inside the Parliament and beyond (1979-2019)

This self-financed project aims to deepen understanding of the contribution made by the European Parliament to European integration, as seen by the actors involved, since the direct elections of 1979.  

The project is a  collective work, coordinated by Alfredo De Feo and Michael Shackleton, and benefits from the advice and support of Prof. Adrienne Heritier. The project is open to contributions from practitioners and scholars who share the spirit and the approach of the research, and research analyses and interviews are available on the project's Blog.

The research analyses a number of themes or events which have contributed, in a positive or negative way, to European integration. We approach these themes through the experience of the actors, MEPs but also officials and politicians from all the EU institutions. The documents and oral interviews deposited in the Historical Archives of the EU will serve as our primary sources, but we will also collect new interviews, academic articles or personal memories.

Some of the themes that we expect to address include the 1999 resignation of the Santer Commission and its significance for the development of accountability inside the EU; the 1990 Assizes in Rome and their impact on relations between EP and national parliaments; the role of the political groups in the 90ies and the emergence of the Grand Coalition; individual policy areas, such as Civil Liberties, Agriculture or the Environment and the impact the EP had on them as well as horizontal subjects such as interinstitutional agreements and the development of soft law.

Permanent Research Group on Social Europe

The European Pillar of Social Rights, i.e. the inter-institutional declaration signed by the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission in November 2017, seems to have set in motion a conscious recognition of and a potentially necessary call for the return of a social Europe.

The involvement and recognition of European social actors is an essential part of this process. In order to renew the academic attention on the historical experience and the meaning and perspectives of social Europe in a globalized world, the Permanent Research Group on Social Europe was established in June 2019. The research group includes professors from the universities of LUMSA, LUISS, Siena, and Genova, and representatives of social actors and European Institutions. Its scientific secretariat is located at the Alcide De Gasperi Research Centre at the European University Institute in Florence.

Learn more about the Permanent Research Group on Social Europe

The European Investment Bank at the origins of a European environmental policy

This 12 month research project (2021/22) is conducted by Alcide de Gasperi research associate Jacopo Cellini, and is funded by the EIB Group's  STAREBEI (STAges de REcherche BEI) programme

Climate action and environmental sustainability are now at the centre of the European Union’s (EU) strategy, whose overarching goal is to make the EU climate neutral by 2050. They are also the top priorities of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB), which aims to become the EU’s climate bank. Environmental policy has progressively taken centre stage in EU politics, especially since it gained treaty recognition with the Single European Act in 1986. The emergence of an environmental policy in the European Communities (EC), though, is to be dated back to the early 1970s, when the EC entered the rising global debate on environmental protection, that had been initiated by the scientific community and picked up by international organisations.

Drawing on the growing historical literature on EU institutions – such as the Commission, the Parliament and the Court of Justice – in the early stages of the European environmental policy, this research aims to assess the role of the EIB in this field from the early 1970s until 1993, when the Treaty of Maastricht came into force. The study will address the quantitative and qualitative impact of environmental issues on the EIB activity, by tracing the relevance of environmental protection in the Bank’s strategy and in specific projects, with a view to reconstructing the history of the emergence of the environment in the EC policy preferences.

The research will draw on archival sources held at the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) and at the EIB archives in Luxembourg, and it also envisages a series of oral history interviews with EIB officials.

The European Investment Bank and the ‘Mezzogiorno’ in the context of regional development (1958-1973)

The research project "The European Investment Bank and the ‘Mezzogiorno’ in the context of regional development (1958-1973)" aimed at investigating the European Investment Bank’s activities in the Italian South in a comparative way within the context of the Bank’s regional development interventions. The project was financed by the STAREBEI (STAges de REcherche BEI) programme promoted by the EIB. It was conducted by Antonio Bonatesta, Associate Researcher at the ADGRC, under the supervision of Federico Romero and Carlo Spagnolo. The research strived to reconstruct various aspects of the EIB’s investments into Southern Italy, such as the Bank’s internal debates on the rationale of investments and the interplay of European Community bodies and the Italian government and public organizations and questioned whether the investments achieved their goals of economic growth and entrepreneurship in the South of Italy.

The project’s findings were published in "The European Investment Bank and the ‘Mezzogiorno’ in the context of regional development (1958-1973)" (2019).

The European ambition: study on the EPP Group's contribution and its impact on the European integration process and on the directly elected European Parliament

This study was tendered by the European People’s Party Group to assess, with an interdisciplinary approach, the EPP Group’s contribution to and impact on European integration as well as on the European Parliament and its powers during the 40 years since its first direct elections.

The project was coordinated by Luciano Bardi, part-time professor at the ADGRC, assisted by Jacopo Cellini and Jan Karremans, research associates at the ADGRC. The research built on existing research about the EPP and emphasises recent developments within the European Union. The resulting book consists of five core chapters. Departing (1) from the key elements of the European Communities’ historical context at the time of the first EP elections, the study continues (2) with assessments of the EPP Group’s role in the constitutionalisation of the EU, its positioning (3) in the EU’s institutional and political framework as well as its role in and approach to the EU’s internal (4) and external (5) policies.

The five chapters are respectively authored by Wolfram Kaiser, Karl Magnus Johansson, Luciano Bardi, Carine Germond, and Wojciech Gagatek. The research team drew on the extensive resources made available by the Historical Archives of the European Union by the EPP Group’s Archives as well as on documentation provided by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, together with interviews conducted with key protagonists of the last forty years of EPP Group’s existence.

Learn more about the book "The European ambition: the Group of the European People's Party and European integration" (2020).

Shaping parliamentary democracy: collected memories from the European Parliament

The project "Shaping parliamentary democracy: collected memories from the European Parliament" aims to provide an assessment of what the European Parliament has and has not achieved since 1979. The project collects therefore memories, written and oral, from MEPs who worked inside the institution during that period.

The project is conducted by Alfredo De Feo, Francis Jacobs, Gerard Laprat, Dietmar Nickel and Michael Shackleton; all former staff of the European Parliament where they spent a large part of the last forty years.

The recorded oral interviews, as well as written summaries, are deposited at Historical Archives of the European Union as part of its oral history collections and made available to researchers.

Representatives of the HAEU, the Former Members Association of the European Parliament, and the University of Maastricht (Prof. Dr. Christine Neuhold), provided support to the project.

Read more about the project in "Shaping parliamentary democracy: collected memories from the European Parliament" (2019) and consult the oral history programme "Collecting memories: European Parliament 1979-2019".

Looking West: the European Socialist regimes facing pan-European cooperation and the European Community (PanEur1970s)

PanEur1970s is a five-year project (2015-2020) – based at the European University Institute (EUI) – to investigate the European Socialist regimes’ expectations and predicaments vis-à-vis the opening of a space of pan-European cooperation in the long 1970s.

The project intends to provide a historical appraisal of the late Socialist élites’ views of their countries’ place and prospects in an emerging space of trans-European connections that presented them with new patterns of exchange and potential regional integration while challenging existing configurations of stability, political control and ideological self-legitimization. PanEur1970s is particularly interested in exploring how the elites of the European Socialist regimes conceived and rationalised their increasing economic exchanges with, and deepening financial dependence from, Western Europe.

Learn more about PanEur1970s

Histcom3 – The European Commission (1986-2000) – History and Memories of an Institution

The 'Histcom3' project was carried out by an international team of historians, under the direction of Vincent Dujardin, Éric Bussière (Université de Paris-Sorbonne/Paris IV), Piers Ludlow (London School of Economics), Federico Romero (European University Institute, EUI), Dieter Schlenker (Historical Archives of the European Union, EUI) and Antonio Varsori (Università di Padova) 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, gathering first hand sources, including a large number of interviews with former Commissioners and officials, with a view to writing a collective volume focusing on the administrative, economic, social, and international dimensions of the European Commission from 1986 to 2000. 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 Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence.

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. The 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.

Read the third volume on the European Commission's history and consult the oral history programme “The European Commission 1986-2000. Memories of an institution”.

Towards a New History of European Public Law

The research project: ‘Towards a New History of European Public Law’ funded by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation and placed at the University of Copenhagen produced a new body of literature dealing with the history of European public law from 1950 to 1993.

Part of the project has been to collect new archival sources on the history of European public law and to produce oral history sources on the Legal Service of the European Commission from 1958 to 1986.

The Historical Archives of the European Union was partner in this project on the history of European public law by offering the deposit of dedicated archival collections of the legal history project in Florence. In this way, some outstanding private archival collections have enriched the existing EU Institutional archival holdings, mainly those of the Court of Justice of the European Union and of the various legal services of EU Institutions and bodies.

Learn more about the project and its findings on the dedicated webpage.

Page last updated on 24/06/2024

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