Presentation of the book ‘Common Fate, Common Future’

On 10 July 2012, the CVCE and the Netherlands-based institute Huygens ING officially presented the book Common Fate, Common Future. A documentary history of monetary and financial cooperation in Europe 1947–1974 at the Cercle Munster in Luxembourg City.

The book's title was inspired by a statement made by Angela Merkel to the Bundestag in 2010: ‘The euro is our common fate, and Europe is our common future.' The book Common Fate, Common Future is the result of an academic partnership between the CVCE and Huygens ING. It focuses on the historical background to the introduction of the euro, tracing events up to the oil shock in the 1970s. The book shows that shortly after the Second World War (from 1947 onwards), the idea of a single currency was already being mooted in discussions between the countries of Europe.

Common Fate, Common Future reveals that the problems involved in creating a common currency, including issues of national sovereignty in budgetary matters, had been recognised decades ago. These problems have come to the forefront during the current euro crisis. Common Fate, Common Future sets out the solutions as they were envisaged at the time.

The book outlines the major milestones of European monetary history from 1947 to 1974 through a collection of 46 documents selected by the two institutes after intensive research. The documents published in this collection have been taken from the diplomatic archives of various Dutch ministries, the Archives of the Council of the European Union and the Historical Archives of the European Union held in Florence. Other sources include the official publications of the European Communities, the Bulletin of the Information and Press Service of the Luxembourg Government and the Press Bulletin of the German Government.

The book also contains letters, notes, photos and other material from the private archives of the Werner family, much of which is published here for the first time. The CVCE has been given exclusive access to these archives, which form the basis of its digital research corpus on Pierre Werner and Europe, soon to be published. Common Fate, Common Future is the result of research by Frédéric Clavert, Elena Danescu and Marco Gabellini for the CVCE and Marc Dierikx, Mari Smits and Loes van Suijlekom for Huygens ING.

At the presentation on 10 July, Marianne Backes, Director of the CVCE, and Henk Wals, Director of Huygens ING, each gave a short introduction before two of the authors provided a brief outline of the book. Jacques Santer, Honorary Minister of State, former Luxembourg Prime Minister and former President of the European Commission, then spoke, emphasising the fact that the excellent research work carried out for this project helps shed light on various issues. The euro is being severely tested by the current crisis. In Jacques Santer's view, one of the reasons for this is the imbalance between a centralised currency and decentralised national economies. The crisis has demonstrated the interdependence of European countries and has particularly highlighted the difference of opinion between economists and monetarists. The lessons we can draw from the Werner Plan can help us overcome these differences and find solutions geared towards the future.

Contact the CVCE at to get a copy of the book.