The establishment of the Werner Committee and an account of its work (March–October 1970)

The establishment of the Werner Committee 1 and an account of its work (March–October 1970) 2

On 4 March 1970, the Commission submitted proposals to the Council for the establishment by stages of an economic and monetary union, and the Council took its lead from these proposals in deciding on the composition of the ad hoc group. There seem to have been three main reasons for the choice of members. Firstly, responsibility for examining the issues raised by the Hague Summit had to be in the hands of officials in charge of economic and financial policy in the Member States. Secondly, the figures concerned had to have a special commitment to European integration and considerable experience in this field. Lastly, any solution put forward had to have the widest support possible at government level.

On 6 March 1970, the Council of Ministers reached agreement on a decision on the procedure to be followed in respect of economic and monetary cooperation, and decided how the group of experts should be composed. This group was formed of the leaders of the various specialised committees of the Commission, who also held high national offices. These were the chairmen of the Monetary Committee (Bernard Clappier from France, who was also Deputy Governor of the Banque de France), the Committee of Governors of the Central Banks (Hubert Ansiaux from Belgium, Governor of the National Bank of Belgium), the Medium-Term Economic Policy Committee (Johann Baptist Schöllhorn from Germany, also State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Economy), the Conjunctural Policy Committee (Gerard Brouwers from the Netherlands, State Secretary in the Dutch Ministry of the Economy) and the Budgetary Committee (Gaetano Stammati from Italy, Treasurer-General in the Italian Ministry of the Treasury). Pierre Werner, Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Luxembourg, was appointed chairman of the group. In his memoirs, published more than 20 years later, he revealed that ‘although the group’s members were appointed for their roles in the Community, their viewpoints increasingly reflected the concerns of their governments’. 3 The Commission was represented by the Director-General for Economic Affairs (DGII), Ugo Mosca. It also ran the ad hoc group’s secretariat, which was coordinated by Georges Morelli, a Commission official.

1 Although in the minutes of their first meeting the term ‘group of experts’ was used, the group became increasingly known as the ‘committee of experts’ or the ‘Werner Committee’. These names — ‘group of experts’, ‘committee of experts’, ‘ad hoc group’ and particularly ‘Werner Group’ and ‘Werner Committee’ — all entered common parlance and refer to the same structure. Note that throughout the history of the European Community and European Union, it has been common practice to consult experts on various issues and to set up study groups, reflection groups and ad hoc committees.

2 See also Danescu, Elena Rodica, Summary of the Werner Committee’s schedule and the main issues addressed (6 March 1970–22 March 1971). Source: (Document consulted on 10 October 2012.)

3 Werner, Pierre, Itinéraires luxembourgeois et européens. Évolutions et souvenirs: 1945–1985, 2 volumes, Éditions Saint-Paul, Luxembourg, 1992, Volume 2, p. 124

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