Pierre Werner, a European vocation
Pierre Werner (29 December 1913–24 June 2002), whose life spanned the 20th century, was an economist, legal expert, politician and diplomat, a leading light in the European integration process — particularly monetary integration — who helped shape contemporary Luxembourg. He was a prominent Catholic scholar who was active in academia and played an influential role in European and American economic networks.
Pierre Werner entered the political arena in the early 1950s and was closely involved in the major developments of European integration. He acted as both a Luxembourger and a European citizen, leaving his mark on the key events in the building of a united Europe. The ‘battle of the seats’ in 1965, the choice of Luxembourg as one of the three permanent capitals of the Community institutions, the town planning programme and development of the Kirchberg European quarter (a major asset for the country in the ‘battle of the seats’), the 1966 ‘Luxembourg Compromise’ and the Werner Report that sketched the outlines of EMU are just some of the achievements to which he made a vital contribution.
At a domestic level, he played a major role in the country’s economic diversification, promoting Luxembourg to the status of an international financial centre and coming up with the idea of a Luxembourg maritime flag and the satellite project. These visionary initiatives were taken up by his successors — for Pierre Werner served as mentor and inspiration for other leading political figures in Luxembourg, who continued his work at both national and European level.
Through his ideas and achievements, Pierre Werner made a huge contribution to building Luxembourg’s national identity and providing it with an international perspective.