Contemporary history of Europe

Through a century of change: portrait of a pragmatic visionary

As Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Luxembourg over several decades, Pierre Werner shaped the future of his country and was one of the rare statesmen to play a part in the progress of European integration until the mid-1980s. He played a major role in regional integration (BLEU, Benelux) and in EEC policy-making and gained a strong reputation for forging a political consensus between larger powers (Germany and France)and between diametrically opposed positions (‘economists’ vs ‘monetarists’). In this way he succeeded in defending Luxembourg’s vital interests, from the financial centre to the seats of the European institutions. Werner was involved in the major ideological debates of the time. Although initially in favour of a monetary approach, Werner was one of the first to develop arguments for a symmetrical economic and monetary union.

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