Opening session

The academic event ‘Pierre Werner and Luxembourg: a vision of Europe’ was chaired by Professor Bernard Snoy et d’Oppuers, President of Robert Triffin International.

In his opening address, Prof. Snoy et d’Oppuers provided a general outline of the event and described his family connections with Pierre Werner and Luxembourg. He mentioned the partnership agreement signed recently by Robert Triffin International and the CVCE before describing the discussions that Robert Triffin (1911–1993) held on a regular basis from the early 1960s onwards with Jean Monnet and Pierre Werner regarding the definition of a European monetary identity and the concept of a European Reserve Fund, an idea that was subsequently taken up in the Report for the establishment by stages of an economic and monetary union in the Community (the Werner Report) of 8 October 1970.       

Marianne Backes, Director of the Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe, reviewed the results of the ‘Pierre Werner and Europe’ research project, which the CVCE launched in 2011 on the basis of a thorough exploration of the Werner family archives, to which the CVCE’s researchers have been given exclusive access. This project, directed by Elena Rodica Danescu, led by Dr Susana Muñoz and monitored by an external peer review committee, has resulted in various publications on the research infrastructure, including the research corpus ‘A rereading of the Werner Report of 8 October 1970 in the light of the Pierre Werner family archives’ and the subject file ‘Pierre Werner and the European integration process: from the Schuman Plan to the Fontainebleau Summit’. Marianne Backes alluded to the many public events organised in connection with the project — including this latest academic event in Brussels. In 2011, a conference was held on the subject ‘From the Werner Plan to the euro: 40 years of success and crisis’, with a lecture by Jean-Claude Juncker; in 2013, the conference ‘Economic and Monetary Union at the crossroads’ had as its guest speaker Jean-Claude Trichet; and the year 2013 also saw a round table with key players and eyewitnesses and a conference on ‘Pierre Werner and Europe: his approach, action and legacy’. The latter conference was organised in cooperation with the University of Luxembourg, the Pierre Werner Foundation and Robert Triffin International, an association with which the CVCE signed a partnership agreement in December 2015.

Henri Werner, speaking on behalf of the Werner family, emphasised his father’s deep commitment to Europe. ‘For Pierre Werner, there was no contradiction between serving his homeland of Luxembourg and serving Europe. On the contrary, he realised how vital it was for Luxembourg to be part of a supranational body that would enable it to exercise its national independence on the basis of the concept of “shared sovereignty”. […] He also saw the need for Europe to be firmly rooted in its constituent homelands in order for it to operate effectively and be relevant for its citizens. It was through studying the turbulent history of Luxembourg, straddled between two major European cultures, that Pierre Werner strengthened his conviction, passed on from Joseph Bech, that his country had a specific role to play in the plan for the unification of our continent.’ Mr Werner went on to describe his father’s meticulous approach to studying and preparing the issues on which he worked; this resulted in his accumulating a whole host of documents from a wide range of fields — including politics, law, economics, religion, philosophy and the arts — over the decades. ‘Pierre Werner believed that politics was a universal science that was linked to all aspects of human reality.’ It was this perspective that led the Werner family to open its archives to the CVCE’s researchers. Henri Werner particularly paid tribute to the researchers’ personal commitment and the quality of their work.


Presentation of the book ‘Pierre Werner et l’Europe: pensée, action, enseignements/Pierre Werner and Europe: His Approach, Action and Legacy’

This book, co-edited by Dr Elena Danescu, Researcher at the CVCE, and Dr Susana Muñoz, Head of European Integration Studies at the CVCE, presents the results of pluridisciplinary and transdisciplinary research on Pierre Werner, his approach and his European achievements. It also offers an open invitation for us to draw on the lessons of the past in order to improve our understanding of the present situation and to help build the future of the European Union, inspired by Pierre Werner’s contribution to European integration.

Dr Susana Muñoz began the presentation of the book by outlining the background to the conference on which it is based. This event, held to mark the centenary of Pierre Werner’s birth and to explore his intellectual heritage, was attended by several experts and key players in the economic and monetary field. The opening lecture was given by Prof. Hans Tietmeyer, Honorary President of the Bundesbank and former member of the Werner Committee, and the closing lecture by Prof. Philippe Maystadt, Belgian Minister of State and Honorary President of the European Investment Bank. Luc Frieden, former Luxembourg Finance Minister (2009–2013), chaired a lunch debate at which he gave a presentation on ‘Financial services in a changing world.’ The contributions were divided into four themed sessions: Pierre Werner, a life dedicated to the European ideal; The Werner Report: ideas, initiatives and challenges for a Europe built through currency; From the Werner Report to the Delors Report: progress towards Economic and Monetary Union; and Challenges and prospects for Economic and Monetary Union. Dr Muñoz went on to emphasise the important role played by the partners, including Robert Triffin International, in the success of the conference, and particularly mentioned the major contribution made by its members, Professors Jean-Claude Koeune, Bernard Snoy, Christian Ghymers and Ivo Maes, to the publication of the book.

In her address, Dr Elena Danescu, a researcher who has been developing the ‘Pierre Werner and Europe’ research project since 2011, spoke about the personality and achievements of this politician from Luxembourg who left his mark on the future of his country and on the European integration process. Werner worked tirelessly to bring his ideas to fruition — from the economic diversification of Luxembourg and its consolidation as an international financial centre to the development of a policy for satellite telecommunications and the introduction of Economic and Monetary Union in Europe — becoming a source of inspiration for future generations. Dr Danescu went on to outline the main European achievements of Pierre Werner, especially focusing on the Luxembourg Compromise, the Werner Report, his skill in securing a consensus, and his leadership in small-state diplomacy (particularly demonstrated through the BLEU and Benelux). From the time of Joseph Bech to Pierre Werner, Gaston Thorn and more recently Jacques Santer, Viviane Reding and Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg has proved to be a breeding ground for ‘enlightened men and women capable of moving Europe forward’. Finally, Dr Danescu mentioned the productive exchanges of views that took place from the early 1960s onwards between Pierre Werner, Jean Monnet and Robert Triffin on the subject of a common or single European currency and a European Reserve Fund, a concept which was later included in the plans for an economic and monetary union laid down in the 1970 Werner Report.