Under a deposit agreement signed on 16 June 2023 with the Science and Research Centre Koper (ZRS Koper), the Historical Archives of the European Union has agreed to preserve and make available to the public the oral history interviews collected by the European Research Council (ERC) funded project ‘OPEN BORDERS: Cold War Europe beyond Borders. A Transnational history of cross-border practices in the Alps-Adriatic area from World War II to the Present’.
Borut Klabjan, Principal Research Associate at Koper’s Institute for Historical Studies and Principal Investigator of the five-year OPEN BORDERS project, said that Koper chose the Historical Archives because ‘’this cooperation will allow us to establish a dedicated archival fund at one of the leading archives in Europe, maximizing the impact of the project and making a wide collection of non-institutional sources available for future research.”
At present, the oral history holdings of the HAEU comprise more than 900 oral history interviews with European politicians and officials.
According to Dr. Benedetto Zaccaria, who is Assistant Professor at the University of Padova and a research associate on OPEN BORDERS, the project “takes a novel perspective on European integration during the Cold War, examining instances of cooperation, contact and exchange across the iron curtain”. The oral sources and oral history interviews, he explained, are expected to provide rich data on European integration “from the bottom up.”
The ERC’s Horizon Europe 2021-2027 funding framework requires new projects to deposit the research data they generate in trusted repositories and make the data available under open science conditions that are “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”.
For Dieter Schlenker, Director of the HAEU, the agreement with ZRS Koper will not only facilitate the research objectives and requirements of the OPEN BORDERS project, but also "enrich what the Archives can offer to the academic community in terms of primary sources on the history of European integration."
Pictured from left: Dieter Schlenker, Andreja Casar, Benedetto Zaccaria, and Borut Klabjan