Our collection of eInterviews: oral accounts from key players and observers of the European integration process


30 May 2016

George Pagoulatos

Recording of an interview with George Pagoulatos in Brussels.

19 Apr 2016

Fabrizio Saccomanni

Recording of an interview with Fabrizio Saccomanni in Brussels.

9 Mar 2016

Niels Christoffer Thygesen

Recording of an interview with Niels Christoffer Thygesen in Copenhagen.

5 Jan 2016

Astrid Lulling

Recording of a second interview with Astrid Lulling in Sanem.

4 Dec 2015

Viviane Reding

Recording of a third interview with Viviane Reding in Sanem.

24 Nov 2015

Astrid Lulling

Recording of an interview with Astrid Lulling in Sanem.

11 Nov 2015

Philippe Maystadt

Recording of an interview with Philippe Maystadt in Nivelles.

‘Oral history of European integration’ collection

‘Oral history of European integration’ collection

Exclusive interviews with eyewitnesses and key players in the European integration process


For more than ten years now, accounts from people who have witnessed and/or been involved in the major events that have shaped the European integration process have been gathered. To date, the researchers in European Integration Studies have recorded or filmed more than 100 interviews. More than 160 hours of material have been published in a dedicated section on the CVCE.eu website, in full and in the form of selected excerpts (http://www.cvce.eu/histoire-orale/). The excerpts are also available for consultation in the relevant themed sections of the CVCE.eu's publications.





The interviews are chiefly conducted for academic purposes, namely to provide new primary sources for researchers specialising in European studies. These sources often represent a useful complement to other resources and archive material, and may even serve to shed new light on this material.

The CVCE.eu's interviews also constitute a precious legacy for present and future generations. These personal accounts offer an effective and appealing way to get closer to the history of the European integration process so as to develop a better understanding of past and current European issues. Several excerpts also have clear educational applications or may be of interest to the media.





The choice of people approached to grant an interview is primarily determined by the themes covered in the DEIS' research projects. The ‘Pierre Werner and Europe' project provided an opportunity to interview figures from Luxembourg and Europe and record their memories and thoughts on Pierre Werner, his achievements and his approach to the European integration process. Étienne Davignon, Jacques Delors, Mark Eyskens, Luc Frieden, Jean-Claude Juncker, Wilfried Martens, Yves Mersch, Jacques Santer, Hans Tietmeyer, Henri Werner and Marie-Anne Werner are some of those who have been interviewed in connection with this project.

For the ‘Spain and the European integration process: converging pathways' project, which analyses the historical relationship between Spain and Europe from a broad perspective, the selection of interviewees was based on their responsibilities and roles during Spain's negotiations for accession to the European Economic Community (EEC) and its subsequent integration into the EEC. The following figures have been interviewed for this project: Enrique Barón Crespo, Josep Borrell Fontelles, Carlos María Bru Purón, José María Gil-Robles Gil-Delgado, Manuel Marín González, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Marcelino Oreja Aguirre and Jordi Pujol i Soley.

A file on Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, a former Italian central banker and Minister for the Economy and Finance, who died in December 2010, has been developed in cooperation with ‘Notre Europe' and the National Foundation for Political Science. This file aims to provide new insight into his personality, his approach and his contribution to European and international economic and monetary affairs over the past 40 years. It contains 12 interviews with eminent European figures, all of whom worked closely with Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa during the various stages of his career. Giuliano Amato, Michel Camdessus, Étienne Davignon, Jacques Delors, Élisabeth Guigou, Alfonso Iozzo, Jacques de Larosière, Christian Noyer, Romano Prodi, Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul, Jean-Claude Trichet and Ignazio Visco all agreed to be interviewed for this project.

The choice of interviewees also depends on their involvement in the events being studied and/or their academic credentials. The CVCE.eu has interviewed a host of eminent figures in this connection including Egon Bahr, Paul Collowald, Édith Cresson, Jean François-Poncet, Nicole Fontaine, Bjørn Tore Godal, Bronislaw Geremek, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen, Max Kohnstamm, Pierre Moscovici, Charles Rutten, Philippe de Schoutheete and António Vitorino.

The interviews are semi-structured; they are loosely based on a questionnaire which covers biographical elements and points of interest for specific research topics. Before drawing up the questionnaire, the researchers in the European Integration Studies Department identify the main themes on which the interviewee is likely to be able to provide valuable information or offer a particular viewpoint. The questionnaire is sent to the interviewee, who is free to make any adjustments he or she considers appropriate. The aim is to generate an account that contains as much relevant information as possible.


In 2013, the Oral History Programme received a positive assessment from an external committee composed of three independent international experts: Pilar Domínguez Prats, Professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) and former President of the International Oral History Association (IOHA), Pablo Pozzi, Plenary Full Professor in the History Department of the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Pascaline Winand, holder of the Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the Monash European and EU Centre, Monash University (Australia). This external review was an opportunity to strengthen the expertise in oral history and to identify avenues for the future development of its Oral History Programme.


Editorial policy


The Oral History Programme involves a major editorial dimension. Each interview has its own dedicated web page. The interviews are systematically published in full and accompanied by a short biography of the interviewee. Each interview is also indexed by theme and selected excerpts are published to offer easy access to the different topics covered. All the interview excerpts are given a title and an explanatory caption which presents the excerpt and sets it in context. Finally, a transcription of the interview is published on the dedicated web page, together with a translation into English and/or French.


New primary sources for the research community


The results of the work are particularly geared towards the research and teaching communities. The wealth of original audiovisual material offered by the Oral History Programme and the presentation of this material according to specific themes contribute to the development of new academic analysis in the fields of history, law and political science. The published interview is both the result of scholarly work and a basis for further research.

New features are regularly designed and developed to facilitate the use of its interviews for research or educational purposes. The transcription process is being stepped up to allow ‘full text' searches, and efforts are being pursued to translate the transcriptions and offer subtitles for the interviews.