Strategy and key thematic research areas

The research infrastructure is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the European integration process in a broad sense, from the pioneering plans of the 20th century to the latest developments. This includes the various intergovernmental cooperation and integration initiatives — mainly political, economic and security-based — launched after the Second World War. Against this backdrop, specific attention is paid to the study of the origins and evolution of the European Union. The University of Luxembourg is thus contributing to the creation of an enriched understanding of European integration and its past, present and future dimensions.

The two major objectives are:

a) the development of further ePublications, with the objective of creating new high-quality research corpora, educational outputs and primary sources in the ‘Oral history of European integration’ collection; and

b) the adaptation, enhancement and further development of existing ePublications (contributing to their sustainability).

Against this backdrop, the key thematic research areas are as follows:


1. The European economic, monetary, financial and social model in a context of recurrent crisis and revival

Since 2008, the European Union, its Member States and citizens have been in the throes of a major financial, economic, social and political crisis. The impact of this crisis on European socio-economic structures calls into question the strength of the political relationship between public authorities (the EU, the states and the local authorities) and citizens. The project for an ‘ever closer union between the peoples of Europe’, originally designed to underpin the post-war reconstruction effort and strengthen links between the people of Europe, appears to be at a standstill. Europe seems unable to move forward from the crisis: tensions are rising within the community of states and communities of individuals, and positions are hardening.

The aim of this research area is to place the current crisis in context, providing keys to understanding and interpreting events via a series of complementary themes: the European economic, monetary and financial model, the European social model, the reaction of the people of Europe to the crisis in 2010–2014, their reaction to a similar crisis in the interwar period, etc.


2. Luxembourg and European integration

Luxembourg, a country at the heart of Europe, has undergone a remarkable transformation from the early 1950s to the present day, evolving from a country specialising in the primary sector and the steel industry to a country diversifying its industrial activities and developing tertiary activities with high added value. This change is a result of various exogenous factors (European integration and the development of the financial markets) and endogenous factors (political stability). This research area examines the drivers for Luxembourg’s transformation and its close interaction with the European environment. In this context, the vision and work of the main architect of this transformation, Pierre Werner, are being analysed, notably in the light of the Pierre Werner family archives. More generally, this area looks at the historical relationship between Luxembourg and Europe from a broad perspective: Luxembourg’s impact on and contributions to the European integration process, the process of Europeanisation in Luxembourg and Luxembourg’s European policy through the analysis of diplomatic documents. 


As regards the enhancement of the existing ePublications, the thematic focus is on the institutional system of the European Union and its recent developments in the light of the legal and political changes that have occurred over the last five years: the adoption and implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon, the adoption of new treaties (the ‘Fiscal Compact’ and the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism), the European elections in June 2014 and the appointment of new members of the major EU institutions (European Commissioners, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the President of the European Council, the President of the Eurogroup, etc.).