History of the European Parliament: Research Projects, sources and Historical Memory 1979-2019

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History of the European Parliament: Research Projects, sources and Historical Memory 1979-2019

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To celebrate 40 Years of direct elections to the European Parliament, the Former Members Association (FMA) has put in place a series of initiatives that will conclude with its Annual events on 10-11 December 2019 in Brussels. Over the past year, two high-level conferences have been organised by the FMA with the European University Institute (EUI) and the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) the first one on 22-23 November 2018 in the Badia Fiesolana, in Florence, and the other on 3 April 2019 in the European Parliament, in Brussels, both with distinguished speakers and representatives of the FMA.

On 29 November, the FMA were invited to attend a Conference on the History of the European Parliament: research projects, sources and historical memory 1979-2019, which I had the honour of opening, together with Emanuelle Ortoli, President of the Friends of Historical Archives of the EU, and Dieter Schlenker, Director of the Historical Archives of the EU.

You can watch the discussion on the FMA Facebook page

The Conference took place at the House of the European History in Brussels. This event was intended to mark the 40th anniversary of the election of the European Parliament by universal suffrage and presented an inventory of the written and oral, historical and commemorative sources relating to the history of the  European Parliament which has taken on a greater role, both legislative and of budget, with the powers constantly increased by its first mandate.

The participation of authoritative members of our association such as President Enrique Barón Crespo and Alain Lamassoure, gave an important contribution to the celebrations of the fortieth anniversary with lively discussions. Among the various presentations, the project Collecting Memories of MEPs (from 1979 to 2019) was presented. The HAEU, launching this project, with the support of the FMA had the merit to have given a structure and a unique place where researchers can find, even in future, the lively witnesses of MEPs who have participated and contributed to the life and evolution of the Institution.

The project was conducted by a number of researchers, all Former officials of the Institution. The project, in less than two years has already been a success: more of 100 interviews are deposited in the HAEU database and the project is still ongoing. The FMA was a crucial partner in this project inviting Former Members to be interviewed by the researchers.

During the presentation of the Collecting Memories project, numerous extracts of interviews were presented, which give an excellent idea of what researchers will find, a mix of politically and historically relevant elements framed by personal considerations.

Furthermore, the researchers also published a book Shaping Parliamentary Democracy, published by Palgrave, the book, divided in ten themes, is not an academic book but a structured collection of stories. At the end of each chapter, the reader can find the contribution made by MEPs to the chapter with the indication of the minutes of his/her interview, something that is highly appreciated by the researchers. The book can be purchased on Amazon, the Palgrave website. I hope that this fruitful collaboration can continue in the future with the same passion, enthusiasm and professionalism of our estimated members.

By Monica Baldi, published in the FMA March 2020 Bulletin


December 10, 2019
December 11, 2019
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