Contemporary history of Europe

Historical Challenges and Crisis in building an Integrated Europe: Soft Power Lessons from Luxembourg

The history of European construction after the Second World War is characterized by a crisis-led policy-making process in which the small states and their leadership have played from the outset a critical role. This is the case for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg – one of the smallest countries of our continent but the 1st in terms of wealth (as measured by GDP/capita) – which adopted, in its strategical approach to multilateralism and regional integration, an international outlook both for security and economic reasons, and pioneered the emergence of the European project. Based on a wide range of archival documents and new oral history sources, this paper will examine how the Grand-Duchy had progressively become a leading player in the European integration history, and had consolidated its soft power status stemmed from its capacity to foresee and resolve crisis situations, and from the influential nature of its leadership.

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