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A university for Europe : prehistory of the European University Institute in Florence (1948-1976)


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U N IV E R S IT Y IN S T IT U T E IN F L O R E N C E (1948-1976)


Jean-Marie Pa l a y r f t

with the assistance o f Richard Sc iir e u r s

translated by Iain L. Fras er



This book is dedicated to the sixteen hundred researchers of the European University Institute who have, from 1976 to date, wished to devote some crucial years for their training and their academic progress to a profound European experience.





Acknowledgements... p ai, 9 Preface... » | j

Introduction... » 13

Archival sources-List of abbreviations u s e d ... » 15

Pa r t I 'T n i: s o w e r s o f id e a s” : t h e r c x it s o f a Eu r o p e a n w o h e r EDUCATION EFFORT, 1948-55 ... pai, ¡7 I - Initiatives of the pro-European movements... » 19

A) From the Congress o f Europe (The Hague, A fay ¡948) to the European Cultural Conference (Lausanne, December 194 9 )...! ... » 19

H) The first achievements in the direction o f a European Cultural Com m unity... » 25

1) The European Cultural C e n tre ... » 26

2) The College in B ru g es... » 30

II - A minor European role for universities... ... » 35

Pa r t II Till- COMMUNITIES TAKE UP THE QUESTION OF THE EUROPEAN u n iv e r s it y, 1955-60 ... Pag. 41 I - The European University in the Rome Treaty negotiations » 43 II - Implementing the treaties: the project developed under Euratom auspices (1955-60)... » 48

A) First official mention o f the European University in Article 9(2) o f the Euratom T reaty... » 48


B) The question o f legal interpretation... Pag. 50

C) Preparatory work and the Euratom Commission proposal » 5 4

D) The rejection o f the European University by the Community

Councils (January - October 1 9 5 9 )... » 61 E) The European Parliament s a ctio n ... » 67 111 - The work of the Interim Committee: a charter for the

European University... » 69 A) The interim Committe ’s r e m it... » 69 B) The Interim Committee Report (October 1959 - April

1 9 6 0 )... » 73 1) The European University in the strict s e n se ... » 75 2) The “ European Institutes” of higher education and

research ... » 80 3) The expansion of university exchanges... » 85

4) The University’s institutional infrastructure... » 87

C) Adjournment o f the Interim Committee Project at the

EEC and EAEC Councils (June - July I 9 6 0 ) ... » 93

Pa r t III



I - The University in Florence... Pag. 101

A) The background to the headquarters question: Luxembourg

or Florence... » 101

B) The Italian diplomatic offensive and the choice o f Florence » 105

II - The “ Florence project” in the context of the Fouchet plan » 109

A) The origins o f the Fouchet P la n ... » 109

B) Cultural Cooperation and the Study Committee . . . . » 111

C) The Bonn Declaration o f 18 July 1961: The “Italianhation”

o f the Florence Institute... » 117 D) The reaction o f the supranational bodies... » 122


1) The Commission’s determined, though qualified,

involvem ent... Pag. 122 2) The consistency of the European Parliament’s

inter-ventions in favour of the Florence p ro jec t... » 123

a) The EP's attachment to the Community legal frame-work for a European University... » 123

b) The appropriate extent o f the European University's academic m ission... » 125

III - The action carried on by Italy (1961-5)... » 126

A) Italy's action domestically... » 126

1) The organizing committee for the European University » 127 2) The Italian draft law setting up a Iiuropcan University in Florence... » 142

li) Italy's action internationally... » 143

1) The position of the States parties at the outset of negotiations... » 145

2) The activity of the Pcscatorc working group . . . . » 146

3) The activity of the Sattlcr g ro u p ... » 148

C') The disappointing epilogue to the Bonn declaration . . » 150

Pa r t IV Tin: ij ir t h o f t h e Eu r o p e a n u n iv e r s it y in s t it u t e 1969-76 1 - History of the convention... Pag. 155 A) The "relaunching o f the European University " ... » 155

1) Conditions for the relaunch... » 156

2) The Hague summit: a false s t a r t ... » 158

B) Agreement takes sh a p e... » 160

1) Franco-Italian concertation... » 160

2) The Florence and Rome intergovernmental conferences (1970-1)... » 161


3) The meeting of national Education Ministers and the

signature of the C o nvention... Pag. 163

II - Content of the Convention... » 166

A) Modest am bitions... » 166 1) The Institute’s ta s k s ... » 166 a) Its objectives... >* 166 b) Specialization... » 167 c) The researchers... » 168 b) “Diplomas” ... » 168

2) The place of the Institute among European institutions » 169 B) Complex structures... » 169

1) Numerous bodies, specific p o w e rs... » 170

a) The collective b o d ies... » 170

b) The individual authorities... » 171

2) Relative au to n o m y ... » 171

3) Further development hard to p re d ic t... » 172

C) Compromises... » 173

1) The language q u estio n ... » 173

2) Financial q uestions... » 174

III - St a r t-u p p r o b l e m s a n d p r o s p e c t s f o r gr o w t h . . . Pag. 175 A) The Institute's profile: programmes, teachers, researchers » 175 B) Nomination o f the Principal and Secretary... » 180

C) The buildings question: Villa Tolomei or Badia Fiesolana? » 185 Conclusion... » 189


Mens humilis ei term aliena.

m otto of students in medieval Europe "The establishment of Academics and Literary Societies,

spread prodigiously in Italy and then throughout the Europe and was the source of emulation and taste ' die Sixteenth Century onward, began in Florence in >sl all genres. The Academics of France, of Germany, of

l,Hl, took their model from Florence.

Ei a word, the Sciences, Arts, Trades, even Roman Law, ' ve almost all of them to Florence, the mother of disco-

and of establishments useful to hum anity”. (Diderot, Encyclopedia)




Without the encouragements and good will we have enjoyed it would have been hard for us to follow such a long history with so many ups and downs.

Our thanks go first to Professor Patrick Masterson, Principal of the European University Institute, who was the first to guide us to this return to the sources of the European University. He has followed the progress of our work with active benevolence, and has kindly enhanced the interest of this work through his preface.

The Institute's Secretary, Antonio Zanardi Landi, spurred on and facilitated our research, smoothing out all the difficulties that risked obstructing a happy conclusion to our work. Without his attentive, confident support at every moment, this book might never have seen the light. We express our heartfelt gratitude to him here.

In our voyage through the German, Belgian, French, Italian and Dutch archives, we enjoyed valuable assistance. We wish to thank all the keepers of archives who helped us, sometimes in difficult conditions, to get access to sources, as well as the staff who kindly supplied us with files, for their politeness and speed. We have a very particular debt to the directors and authorities of the national archives and Foreign Ministries of the countries visited: Giovanni Cassis (Italy), François Renouard, Alain Erlandc-Brandenburg (France), François-Marie Pcemans (Belgium), Jean Mischo, Cordcl Meder (Luxembourg), M. W. H. J. Simmers, A. L. M. Van Zeeland, Ms F. Van Anrooij and Dr Koops (Netherlands) and Ms H. Pütz (Germany) allowed us the broadest access to the holdings entrusted to their administration.

Assistance at the Community Archives was no less unstinting. The friendship and support of those in charge of them, Hans Hoffmann, Jacques Schoullcr and Willem Stols, were precious. We wish to thank them here.

We would also thank for their hospitality and competence the keepers who guided us through the archival holdings in the six countries: Monique Constant, Pierre Fournie and Grégoire Eldin at the French Foreign Ministry Archives, Dominque Devaux, Thibaud Girard and Madeleine Debrand of the National Archives, Odile Gaullhier-Voituriez of the National Foundation for Political


Science; Mr Pellegrini, Ms Ruggeri and Ms Turini at the Archivio Storico del Ministcro degli Affari Esteri, Fioretta Mazzei and A nti- nesca Tilli of the Giorgio La Pira Foundation, Jocelyne Collonval and John Sueters at the European Commission’s Archives, M s Sabatini at the European Parliament Archives, Mr Estcvcns an d Mr Gonçalvcs at the European Council Archives, Kristine Clara o f the Bruges College and Henri Rieben of the Jean Monnet Founda-tion for Europe (Lausanne).

In the tiresome writing stage we have enjoyed the unfailing support of the dynamic European Community Historical Archives team in Florence: Madeleine Lemaire, Sylvie Pascucci, Ruth Meycr- Bclardini and Evy Chiostri gave of themselves most generously for the sake of a successful outcome to a joint undertaking. This book owes them much.

But it would certainly never have seen the light without the careful, tirelessly patient work of Agnès Brouet, responsible for the task of typing and proof-reading. We cannot thank her too much.

The Institute’s translation coordinator, Mr Di Tomasso, and the translators Iain Fraser, Dieter Mosclt, Catcrina Paolucci and Andrea Bcchcrucci have, despite very short deadlines, done an outstanding job, keeping both the letter and the spirit of the original in the English, German and Italian versions. Mariella Partilora proofread the Italian. Paola Massini and Barbara Bonke worked tirelessly at the typing and correction of the Italian and German versions. We are delighted to be able to pay friendly thanks to all of them here. Special thanks go to Sasha Baillie, EUI researcher, who most kindly agreed to do the typing of the English version. We are beholden to Brigitte Schwab, EUI Publications Officer, for her valuable technical assistance.

We wish finally to express our deep gratitude to those involved who were kind enough to entrust us with their memories and let us consult their archives: His Excellency Bruno Bottai, Italian ambassa-dor to the Holy See, Mr Félix-Paul Mercercau, former chef de cabinet to Etienne Hirsch, Mr Jean-Claude Eeckhout, EC Commission direc-tor responsible for relations with the European Parliament, and Mr Max Kohnstamm, first Principal of the European University Institute.

In closing the principal author wishes to dedicate this book to his wife France, for all those stolen moments.

The Authors 10




On the 20th Anniversary of the European University Institute, it is very appropriate to recall and record the work and efforts of all those people whose generous and enlightened vision paved the way for the creation of this unique European centre of multicul-tural and scientific research.

We trust that the work of the Institute fulfils their hopes. Their endeavours remain a source of inspiration for us all.

From 1976 to the present, under the guidance of the three Principals who preceded me. Max Kohnstamm, Werner Maihofcr and Emile Noel, and of our late lamented Secretary, Marcello Buzzonctti, the Institute has not ceased contributing by its activ-ities to the development and dissemination of the cultural and scientific heritage of Europe, in its unity and diversity.

The cooperation of European Union Member States in the areas of postgraduate education and research has continued and become significantly enriched. Today the European University Institute, with 450 researchers, 45 professors, 30 Jean Monnct Fellows and dome seventy doctoral theses defended during 1995, has established itself as the institution conferring the largest number of PhDs in Europe in the disciplines pursued in its four departments.

I wish here to express my warmest thanks to the Italian Prime Minister's Office, w'hich has decided to include publication of this work in the activities of the Italian Presidency of the European Union. These thanks go in particular to Dr Stcfano Parisi, head of the Publications Department at the Office. He has rightly understood how the history of the negotiations to create the European University Institute in Florence higlights the irre-placeable part played over the years by the Italian Government, which has been the major artificer of the project for a European University.

Thanks go also to the Secretary of the European University Institute, Antonio Zanardi Landi, whose determination and wise suggestions have brought the undertaking to success. I wash finally


to express sincere appreciation to the author, Dr Jean-Marie Palayret, Director of the European Community Historical A r-chives, who has accomplished the feat of completing this work in record time.

Pa t r ic k Ma s t f r s o n



The European university docs not have to be invented, since it has existed, all the more truly since it was a spontaneous creation, since the Europe of the Middle Ages. Speaking the same learned tongue (Latin) and practising the same scholastics, teachers and students crisscrossed the Respahliea Christiana from Montpellier to Bologna, from Oxford to Heidelberg, in complete freedom even before the idea of Europe had come into being.

From their creation in the late 12th century, universities were the product of the division of Europe, and the agent of its unity. The status of stadium generale with a licence to teach valid in the whole of Catholic Europe differentiated universities from the stadia

particalaria of cathedrals, monasteries and towns. By granting

uni-versities the privileges that protected them against local authorities, the central authorities of the Middle Ages sought to use them to defend the unity of Europe threatened by spiritual and political divisions. The universities represented Europe’s intellectual unity, even once the Reformation broke Roman Church unity in the 16th century. The degrees conferred by universities, of bachelor, master or doctor, were then recognized throughout Christian Europe1.

In the early modern period the universities became a factor for the consolidation of monarchical sovereignties, and in the 19th century turned into hotbeds of nationalism. They were then consti-tuted as national institutions, whose teachers were State officials, with study programmes, degrees and the practice of academic pro-fessions controlled by governments.

The idea of a European university reappeared only in the 20th century, as an cpiphcnomcnon of efforts to organize international society. The theoretical outlines floated by pro-European circles in the ambit of the Hague Congress (May 1948) took shape in a set of official projects around 1950. At that time, the establishment of an economic common market had taken the lead in the construc-tion of Europe, following the failure of the first tries at political

1 Walter Rüeeg, "Division et unité de l'Furopc: le rôle des universités" in Relations


union and of the proposal for a European Defence Community. Attached for a while to the endeavour by the Community of Six to “relaunch Europe”, the development of the idea of a European university was initially hampered by the successive crises and slumps that affected economic Europe, and by the failure of the projects for political cooperation (the Fouchet Plan). Moreover, it met with reservations or indifference in university circles, themselves divided by anarchical attempts at intergovernmental cooperation. Very soon, the question was raised whether it was appropriate to set up a geographically and administratively concentrated university which would possess symbolic value, or else to promote coopera-tion among existing universities, which would not necessarily need direct involvement of governments.

Relaunched in 1969 once the student revolt had brought a major university reform movement in most countries of Europe, the project came through in April 1972 with a compromise in the form of a Convention setting up a European University Institute, with its scat in Florence.



European Community Historical Archives, Florence Archives of the European Commission, Brussels

Archives of the Council of the European Communities, Brussels

Archives of the European Parliament, Luxembourg Krcnch Ministry of Eoreign Affairs, Paris

Belgian Ministry of Eorcign Affairs, Brussels Italian Ministry of foreign Affairs, Rome

Dutch Ministry of f oreign Affairs - Ministerie van Buite-nlandse Zaken - The Hague

f rench National Archives, Fontainebleau Auswärtiges Amt, Bonn

Archives of German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes) - Bonn f ederal Archives - Hallstcin Papers (Bundesarchiv - Hal- Istein-Nachlaß) - Koblenz

Dutch National Archives (Algemeen Rijksarchicf) - The I lague

Dutch Ministry of Education, Arts and Sciences - Higher Education Department (Onderwijs Kunsten en Weten-schappen - Hoger Onderwijs) - Zoetermcer












The European University Institute in Florence is the starling point for an original experiment. Yet it was the end-point of a current of thought that was already in the 50s hoping to organize a university Community alongside the Economic Community.

I - In iti ati ves o f t he pr o-eu k o pea n mov em en ts

From Montrcux (1947) to Lausanne (1949), a scries of con-gresses that brought together politicians and intellectuals from the most diverse backgrounds prepared for the union of Europe by rejecting nationalisms2. This action by European movements inten-sified still further once the division between the two victor blocs became obvious and inescapable: in August 1948 the Wroclaw conference marked the break between intellectuals and artists of East and West.

A) From the Congress of Europe (The Hague, May 1948) to the European Cultural Conference (Lausanne, December 1949) i

Considering the evolution of the idea of creating a Euro-pean University, it may be said to date back to the best known of these congresses, which met at The Hague from 7 to 11 May 1948, chaired by Winston Churchill, who had on 19 September 1946 in Zurich launched the notion of a “ United States of Europe", though without making it clear whether his country would join.

Called under the auspices of the International Committee of Movements for European Unity,' which brought together the majority of European movements from a variety of political tendencies, such as the European Union of Federalists, the In-ternational Study and Action Committee for the United States of Europe (socialist), the United Europe Movement (conserva-tive) and the Nouvelles cquipes internationalcs

(Christian-2 Jean-Marc Purro, ¡.'Europe des congrès: principes et problèmes f ¡944-1949), Fri-bourg, Hd. Universitaires, 1977.


Democrat), the Hague Congress welcomed some eight hundred people from political, social and business circles. It highlighted the lively interest the European question was arousing in broad public opinion, in every country of Western Europe.

Though marked by worsening strains between “ unionists” and “federalists”, it can be considered as the founding act of the Euro-pean construction1 * 3. Its lively discussions brought out a number of key ideas. The Europeans meeting in The Hague called for the free movement of people, goods and ideas.

Thus, the Political Committee, chaired by Paul Ramadicr, drafted the Human Rights Convention and guaranteed its applica-tion by setting up a judicial system. Its discussions also led to the creation of the Council of Europe, exactly one year later.

The Economic and Social Committee, chaired by Paul Van Zeeland, proposed a European Economic Union favouring free trade by breaking down customs barriers.

A third committee dealt with cultural affairs4. Chaired by Don Salvador de Madariaga, it promoted, on the basis of a report drawn up by Swiss philosopher and writer Denis de Rougcmont, the project for a European Cultural Centre as a propaganda ve-hicle for the European idea, catalyst of cultural exchange and coordinator for initiatives in the education area5.

The Committee at first approached only incidentally the question of creating a European University. It contented itself in its resolution with supporting “efforts tending towards a Federa-tion o f European Universities and towards a guarantee o f their

1 Guy De Puymcguc, “ Le rôle du Centre européen de la culture”, in Relations

internationales, no. 73, printemps 1993, p. 13-26.

4 On the activities of the three committees at the Congress of Huropc sec Walter Lipgcns and Charles Visinc, ABC de l’Europe, tome I, LPDJ, Paris, 1967, p. 151. On Denis de Rougcmont see Mary-Jo Deering. Denis de Rougemont, l'européen: combats acharnés,

Denis de Rougemont et tes fondements de l'unité européenne, Fondation Jean Monnet pour

l'Europe, 1992.

5 The resolution proposed on 9 May and voted unanimously by the Congress states:

“Established independently o f all governmental supervision, this body would have as its general task to give expression to the conscience o f Europe", in ECHA/MK/540. Resolution

on Cultural Questions, The Hague, 9 May 1948; English in Congress of Europe - May 1948 - Verbatim Report - IV - Cultural Committee - The Hague, 1949. (Council of Europe).


freedom fro m State or Political pressure" l\ The project remained

at the idea stage. A university project was presented more specifi-cally in January 1949 in London by Jcan-Paul de Dadclsen at the meeting of the cultural section of the European Movement, a standing body created by the Congress with the initial remit of specifying the structure and functions of the European Cultural Centre.

The note drafted by de Dadclsen, secretary-general of the section, indicated that there was no question of claiming to organ-ize the teaching of such non-existent disciplines as a “European physics”, but of contemplating ways of organizing initially periodic meetings by a limited number of professors and students '"to teach universal disciplines in a European c o n t e x tThese lecture series and summer schools would, should they succeed, allow the gradual, natural formation of the embryo of a European University. To this end, the note contemplated creating the first nucleus of a university campus, while leaving open the possibility of later creating special-ized European Universities in several cities.

At the same meeting, agreement in principle was reached on the setting up of a centre or university institute for specifically European education. The draft report for presentation to the Executive Committee of the European Movement in 1949 men-tioned as one of the points for discussion: "the College o f Europe as nucleus o f a future European University" 1.

The European Cultural Conference organized in Lausanne from 8 to 12 December 1949, u'ith participation by Denis de Rougemont, Raoul Dautry, Etienne Gilson, David Rousset and Jean Sarrailh, recommended creating chairs in European educa-tion in universities, and the possibility for students to choose their study or examination programme partly within national pro-grammes and partly on the corresponding European questions, as 6 7

6 ECU A, Congress of Europe, The Hogue, May ¡948, Resolutions. International Coordinating Committee of Movements for European Unity, Paris and London. English in

he. cit. (fn. 4).

7 ECU A, ME/Ml, Cultural Set lion, “Xotc on a project for a European University

presented at the meeting in London on 4 and 5 January", (SC. 7) and "Historique d'une

université européenne et projets présentés jusqu'ici" in Dusun Sidjanski. Bulletin du Centre


uropean Cultural Conference, Lausanne, December 1949,

ianding from left to right: unknown individual, Jean-Paul de Dadelsen. tting; Joseph Retingcr, Denis de Rougemont, Paul-Henri Spaak,

5 European Cultural Centre, Geneva, given by the Jean Monnet Foundation for urope, Lausanne).


well as to attend a variety of European universities for a semester or two. Also suggested was formation of an academic corps ca-pable of moving from one university to another for regular lec-ture scries, and the establishment of a "European University Council"s.

It will be noted that most of these proposals sought to promote European education in existing universities. The members of the Hague Cultural Committee and of the Cultural Section of the European Movement were in fact divided on this point. The most influential figures, Madariaga and Rougemont, felt it inappropriate to create a European University out of nothing, or to confer the status of European University on one of the existing universities. The idea of a European University in the form of a new creation with its own staff and new equipment seemed "dangerously chime-rical, both from the psychological viewpoint and considering the eco-nom ic state o f Europe” to the French Cultural Commission for a United Europe8 9, which preferred the formula of an itinerant European University with a full staff, moving about, possibly only in sections (faculties or institutes) or by semester, among various universities of Europe.

Why these hesitations? The fact was that creating a university was regarded by the pro-Europeans as a very slow solution. It was also a costly one. The programme for a complete four-faculty university would, moreover, cover a number of subjects that would not gain anything from being taught from a European perspective. Finally, it would probably be an ineffective solution for the goal being aimed at. A university would be too big to enable the students to live together, to form a “ family" with its own spirit and style, and allow a personal relationship between teachers and pupils. The point was not to replace the old nationalisms by a more simplistic European chauvinism.

This middle-of-the-road position resulted from discordant voices being raised among some of the currents that co-existed

8 ECHA. ME/540, European Cultural Conference, Resolutions and Final Declaration (Resolution XX, Higher Education), p. 13, 8-12 December 1949.

9 ECHA, ME/540, Jean Bayet, "Rapport à la conférence culturelle de l'Europe unie



-within the broad front that the European Movement was. Within it, the minority federalist tendency of the European Union of Federalists (UEF) favoured a single European University.

In April 1949, the Congress of the Inter-university Federalist Union in Strasbourg called for creation of a genuine European University with a largely sociological programme and a devel-oped system of seminars to accustom students to personal re-search ,0. This tendency was also represented strongly on the Council of Europe. At the first meeting of the Consultative As-sembly on 6 September 1949, André Philip, chairman of the Socialist Movement for the United States of Europe, remarked: “ We all feel — those of us who are members o f universities — that... we might... benefit by contacts which would be not

merely transitory but which would involve working together... in a common University, recognized as a European U n iv e r s ity It

would confer diplomas recognized throughout Europe. Prcscient- ly, he continued: “ The danger which threatens us is that uc may

witness the setting up of an excessive number of organizations of this kind on private initiative, none o f which will be able to meet the need because there will be too great a dispersal of effort" M. At

the second session, “ the Assembly recommends that the Committee

of Ministers instruct the governmental experts to consider the prac-tical conditions in which a European University can be formed if the principle thereof is accepted, and to indicate the rules to which existing universities would have to subscribe in order to receive the title and the rank of European Universities from the Council o f Europe" 10 11 12.

In 1950 the French delegation to the Council of Europe pre-sented a project for a European University which would have the aim of furnishing young graduates of the universities of Europe with additional training aimed at orienting their education toward

10 EC HA, UEF/UF1, Rapports, motions, statuts adoptés par le Congrès constituant de

Strasbourg, cd. de FUnion fédéraliste inter-universitaire, 1949, p. 17.

11 Report of First Session of Consultative Assembly of Council of Europe. Sixteenth Sitting, 6 September 1949.

12 Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, Second Session, Recommenda-tion no. 41 on the European University, 24 August 1950.



the idea of European solidarity and a knowledge of the European services and organizations. However, no follow-up was made to the recommendations for creation of a European University. It was recognized that universities attached great value to their indepen-dence and dreaded any meddling in their affairs by an outside body,3.

The European Movement then chose to move to cultural ac-tion, without awaiting the formation of an official supranational authority. Cultural action would in fact have possibilities that political action could not yet have, “since the governments cannot

oppose the creation o f private13 14 15 institutions o f tomorrow's Europe, and that is just what cultural institutions are” ,5. The point was to

create institutions capable of taking root and then acquiring an independent existence. The results were the European Cultural Centre in Geneva and the College of Europe in Bruges; the Euro-pean Movement had to confine itself to retaining some control over their general policy, while endeavouring to have them recog-nized and subsidized by the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe16.

B) The first achievements in the direction of a European Cultural Community

The activity of the Cultural Section of the European Move-ment thus deliberately aimed at the creation of new institutions17. By 1949-50 two of these private institutions were ready for oper-ation. These were the “European Cultural Centre” in Geneva and the “ College of Europe” in Bruges.

13 Balance sheet of the work of the Council of Europe (1949-1954), Council of Europe, Strasbourg, p. 54; May 1950.

14 Emphasis in the text.

15 ECHA, ME/541, Cultural Section, “ Note on the future of the cultural activities of the European Movement” (undated).

16 Subsidy from the Assembly would “make these two European Institutions into institutions officially recognized by an authority which, albeit consultative, is nonetheless European; it would free the Centre from exclusive dependence on Swiss funds, and the College from exclusive dependence on Belgian funds”, ECHA, ME/541, ibid.

17 ECHA, ME/541, “Note on the future of the cultural activities of the European Movement”, Cultural Section, op. cit.


The Lausanne Conference ratified the Hague Resolution on the creation of a European Cultural Centre, whose inauguration came on 7 October 1950. Conceived at the outset as the embryo of a future European Council for Research and Education, the Centre was deeply marked by the thought of Denis de Rougcmont18. It was indeed he much more than Madariaga (who conceived of the Centre as an institution inspired by certain national academies) who after having won acceptance for the idea “ imprinted on it its

character as a veritable hotbed o f initiatives and creativity, as a very flexible but efficient little entity acting outside the privileged spheres of governments, mandated to 'look further' and co-ordinate ef-forts” 19.

Denis de Rougemont’s commitment to a federated Europe was in fact the end-point of his personalist philosophy. Regarding the person, simultaneously free and responsible, autonomous and bound to society, as the supreme value of European culture, Rougcmont tirelessly sought to underline the cultural unity of the whole continent, and denounce the nation State as the main ob-stacle to the union of Europeans. For culture was not confined to its literary or artistic expressions, but had to be extended to the sense of a system of values common to a human group and guiding their behaviour.

Though diverse in sources and expressions, European culture, so understood, was also single in terms of its determining values, shared by all Europeans. Similarly, the products of this common culture, from Romanesque to Gothic art, to opera, parliaments and socialism, were common to all Europeans; they did not come

1) The European Cultural Centre

18 Denis de Rougemont (1906-85) Swiss writer and philosopher. Rougcmont stood out right from the very first congresses as one of the pioneers of European cultural federalism. Given an ovation in Montreux in 1947, he was asked to be rapporteur to the Cultural Committee at The Hague and organizer of the Lausanne Conference, and then pul in charge of the European Cultural Centre. Cf. Gerard Bossuat, Les Fondateurs de ¡ Europe, Paris, Belin, 1994, p. 114; Mary-Jo Deering, Denis de Rougemont ¡'européen, op. cit., p. 116-119.

19 Guy de Puymégue, “ Le rôle du Centre européen de la culture" in Relations


From left to right: Joseph Rclingcr, Salvador dc Madariaga, Raymond Silva, Bonhabes dc Rouge, Paul van Zeeland, Robert Schuman, Denis de Rougemont, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, at the establishment of the European Cul-tural Centre, Geneva, 1950.

{© European Cultural Centre, Geneva, given by the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, Lausanne).




from this or that nation but from local centres, to spread thence throughout the continent. As Mary-Jo Deering has rightly noted, this somewhat “ ethnographic” concept made culture a motor of societies.

Rougemont felt that “institutions m ust be created to guarantee and m ake manifest the unity o f our cultures in their diversity... A nd young people m ust be trained to become bearers o f the federal idea without which our technical and m aterial reforms will remain a dead l e t t e r 20.

Starting from the principle that the obstacles to the union of Europe lay not in facts but in minds shaped by the nationalist discourse of the schools, the European Cultural Centre was, from the first years of its existence in Geneva, to develop activities in a host of areas. To simplify we shall mention only three of them:

1) The formation of “cultural networks” as the original feature of the “ Rougemont method” for uniting Europe.

As from the 50s, the ECC invited those in charge of specific activities to meet in Geneva for exchanges of views on the respect-ive problems of their various countries. It then showed them the benefit there would be for them in setting up transnational links, flexible and interactive, but permanent. The transnational associ-ations thus set up were equipped with statutes of their own and as light as possible an administrative infrastructure (they were — at least to start with — housed at the Centre, which shared equip-ment and services with them).

The list of participants in these first meetings and the institu-tions that emerged from them is impressive: physicists (to study notably the creation of a European nuclear research “pool”, from which CERN was to emerge); historians (to write history text-books in a European spirit); directors of European institutes; di-rectors of news agencies and national radio stations; film makers. The Centre also made a major contribution in terms of funding for

20 ECHA, ME/538, European Cultural Conference, Lausanne, “ Presentation of

gen-eral report by D. de Rougemont” (speech delivered on 8 December 1949 to the first plenary session).


________________________ — L

European cultural activities, by creating, in 1954, the European Cultural Foundation, whose seat is now in Amsterdam. These first European cultural networks helped toward the formation of a genuine "European fabric"21.

2) A European civics training.

To the hypothetical, dangerous search for a "European cultu-ral identity", Rougemont preferred “education to a common awareness of Europe”. The "European Civic Education Cam-paign" was for long (1961-78) to be the Centre’s main activity. Its programme, with which representatives of the Council of Europe, the European Communities, the European Schools Day, the Euro-pean Teachers’ Association and various national education minis-tries were associated, involved four chief elements: a survey of the situation of civics education in the countries of Western Europe, training courses for primary and secondary teachers, regular publi-cations and a European educational documentation centre.

3) The cultural dialogue.

Rougemont did not intend to replace Stale nationalisms by a sort of European nationalism: “the point is no t", he stated in the introductory report to the Lausanne Conference, “fo r us to set up a European nation opposed to the great nations o f the East and West; nor to seek a “synthetic ” European culture, valid fo r us alone and closed in on itself: that would mean betraying the genius o f Europe, cutting us o ff fro m its Christian and humanist ro o ts"22.

The ECC thus sought as from the late 50s to promote an exchange of ideas turning around action among representatives of great cultural regions. The goal aimed at was to set up an on-going dialogue among the great cultures of the planet. The themes of this dialogue, as defined at the two meetings held in Geneva in 1961

:| Cïuy de Puymêguc, ttrt. eit., p. 20 and “ Deux initiatives du CF.C. Documents sur les origines du Cf-R N et de la Fondation européenne de ta culture”, in Bull cnn du Centre

européen de Ut eutfure, no. 4, hiver 1955.

“ FCHA. MK/55X. Furopean Cultural Conférence. Lausanne, “Présentation of gen~

erat report", op. eit., p. 8. 9 Deecmber 1949.


and Basel in 1964, related to the problems of society on a global scale: the impact of European-born technology on all cultures, educational problems, threats to the environment23.

The ECC thus offered, despite the slender resources available to it, a definite contribution that usefully complemented the much cruder action of governments and intergovernmental institutions. 2) The College in Bruges

The College of Europe was designed as both a cadre school and a school for higher European studies: its role was to train an elite of young Europeans who would for the first time have not just specialized knowledge but a European “general culture”. The College in Bruges was meant in the ideas of its promoters more specifically to guide these young people towards careers as Euro-pean or even national administrators. But the College was regarded as no more than a “primus inter pares”. Subsequently, other col-leges might develop the same general culture among young people aiming toward other areas of European life24.

As stated in the first report presented in Lausanne by the secretariat of the Cultural Section of the European Movement: “ The project of a College of Europe comes out of a more limited

idea than that o f a European University, hut is more specific and more immediately feasible"25. The cultural section, as the report

says, preferred first of all to “move fa st” and second to “keep

low”, in order to make the institution to be set up coherent and let

it “grow like a living organism". Also, it wished to opt for a sol-ution which would not preempt future possibilities for a European University.

23 Guy dc Puymcguc, art. cit., p. 22; Compte-rendu des débats du Colloque de Genève, 15*17 septembre 1961, in Bulletin du Centre européen, de la culture, no. 1-2, avril 1962; “ L'Europe et le monde. Débats et résolutions de la Conférence européenne dc la culture”, in Bulletin du centre européen de la culture, no. 1-2, automne 1965.

24 ECHA, ME/541, “ Note on the future of the cultural activities of the European Movement”, Cultural Section (confidential), May 1949.

2i ECHA; ME/356, European Cultural Conference, Institutional Committee: project for the permanent establishment of a College of Europe.


As from the first months of 1949, the town of Bruges, which hoped to resume links with its cosmopolitan past as “the Venice of the North”, had made two buildings available to the College26 27, along with a credit of 50,000 francs for converting them. In a sec-ond stage, the Belgian council of the European Movement (chaired by Paul Van Zeeland) secured a subsidy of 3,000,000 Belgian francs from the Belgian Government for 1950, through the Minis-ter for Education.

Officially presented to the various national committees of the European Movement at the Lausanne conference, on 19 May the following year the College took the form of a public-benefit insti-tution with the aim of “creating and running an institution fo r high-level academic education, to supplement students’ training in the area o f the human sciences fro m the viewpoint o f substituting a pol-itical, economic, intellectual and social entity fo r the present compart- mentalization o f S ta te s " 21. In the meantime, the executive bureau of the European movement had appointed the Dutchman Hendrik Brugmans as rector of the new institution28.

The project was to develop to take account of various needs: 1) The desire to stay within the framework of action by the European Movement: the College of Europe would give students initial training to enable them to gain access to the annual intakes of staff trained under Movement patronage for the European insti-tutions being set up.

2) The desire to offer these students an original programme and a new atmosphere, while preparing them to supply the cause of European unity with a fresh input of elite militants.

26 The Hôtel Saint-Georges as a home for students and professors, and the Musée Brangwyn to house academic activities.

27 Report of the special committee for the College of Europe. 5p. (no place or date) probably May 1950. Chaired by Julius Hostc, chairman of the Cultural Committee of the Belgian council of the European Movement, this special committee set up to study the legal structures for the College included Hendrik Brugmans, Jean Drapier, Etienne De La Val-lée-Poussin, Jan Willems and Father Verlcyc.

2,1 On all these points sec the Mémoire by Caroline Vermeulen, Le Collège d'Europe

à 1ère des pionniers, 1950-1960, Louvain-!a-Ncuvc, 1995, 176 p.



Prof. Hendrik Brugmans, first rector of the College of Europe, Bruges. '£*) String Communication cv Bruges).


3) The need to be content at the outset with restricted funds of national and municipal origin.

4) The concern to avoid the hostility of existing universi-ties 20.

These concerns did not fail to mark the structures and functio-ning of the College. Even if the College was always to stand up for itself as an international and independent institution, its operation would always largely depend on the Belgian national contribution and the benevolent cooperation of the Bruges authorities10.

The students (around fifty at the outset), selected by national committees consisting of members of movements, representatives of the academic world and College alumni themselves, all held grants from their country of origin -11. They had to have com-pleted a university course and speak the College’s two official languages (French and English). Since they were there more to acquire the habit of constructive work in common rather than listen to lectures in the subjects they were already supposed to have degrees in, they set up research and working teams under the supervision of non-resident professors with European reputa-tions in a number of disciplines (history, law, public administra-tion, etc.).

With its framework of communal living, the College proposed to offer a restricted number of students an opportunity to form a civilizing nucleus. “ Training Europeans from within" 12 was its

principal mission. The need was to bring fifty young people and 2<> ECHA; ME/541, Cultural Section, “ Note on the Bruges project”, 22 October 1949.

■w Given the reticence of the neighbouring countries that hesitated to participate in funding the College, Belgium more or less maintained its original contribution of 3.000,000 Belgian francs in the first few years, thereafter reducing it to 2,300.000 Belgian francs. Cf. Caroline Vermeulen, op. c i r p. 44, The American Government helped College funding by sending a professor of administrative science on sabbatical almost every year. In 1955, the Ford Foundation made a gift of $ 11,500 for the College library and European documenta-tion centre, following a trip by rector Brugmans to the United States, sponsored by the American Committee on United Europe.

11 A study grant at the College of Europe amounted to 50,000 Belgian francs per student per year,

12 Speech by Madariaga at the inauguration of the College of Europe on 12 October 1950.


- J

College of Europe, Bruges: 12 October 1950: opening of the first academic year. From left to right: Hendrik Brugmans, Roy Harrod, Gouverneur van Outryve d'Ydewallc, Mayor van Hocstcnbcrghe, Salvador dc Madariaga, Duncan Sandys, Baugnict, and Julien Hoste.


professors together each year at Bruges in a “pocket-size Europe” 31, so as to go on to create centres of dissemination continent-wide. II - A MINOR EUROPEAN ROLE FOR UNIVERSITIES

That Europe was being made was something no one in the early 1950s could any longer doubt. Victory had certainly not been won, but the movement was under way - not just the movement of ideas, but also the economic process, with the launching of the Schuman Plan in 1950; and the institutional one, with the setting up of the first European organizations: the Council of Europe (1949), the European Coal and Steel Community (1952) and the Western European Union (1954).

How did this historical development affect university life? It did so in a number of ways* 14:

It was able to supply sufficient trained staff for combined research on an international scale in new, cosily areas that went beyond the scientific possibilities of a single country. In 1953, fourteen Western European countries set up CERN (Conseil Euro- pecn pour la recherche nuclcairc, the European Nuclear Research Centre)15. Cooperation in this area was to enable European re-search to rise to world level, in particular responding to the Ameri-can challenge.

European integration by itself raised problems of all sorts that called for serious, systematic scientific analysis (what the Ger-mans call Europa-Kunde).

- Integration called for personnel especially trained for new jobs, not just in the European institutions as such, but also in national administrations, in politics, journalism, diplomacy, busi-ness and trade-union life, etc.

33 Ibid.

14 ARC; COM/BDT 056/79, “ Le problème de l'unité européenne", lecture by Henri Brugmans to the European Student Congress at the FCSC pavilion, Brussels World Fair, 22 July 1958.

-,s On the creation of CF.RN sec John Krige, Dominique Pestre, History o f CERN, Vol. I, Oxford-Amslcrdam-North Holland, 1987, p. 64-88.


- The universities’ European role was reinforced by the C oun-cil of Europe’s multilateral conventions on the equivalence of d i-plomas leading to admission to universities (1953), on the equival-ence of periods of university study (1956) and on the academic recognition of university qualifications (I959)36.

But though “ European ist” projects aroused a certain interest in some university circles, it has to be said that the bulk of them stayed with a much stricter pragmatism, and rejected in chorus the idea of a centralized European university. Apart from individual stances and those of student movements, the European idea devel-oped outside the universities, and when they did take a position all the proposals were in the direction of “Europeanizing" existing structures.

Among such proposals was to teach European affairs in the context of the classical faculties of law, economics, or human sciences. For instance, Jean Monnct’s aim in his 1955 creation o f the “ European Community Institute for University Studies” was “to encourage the creation in the great universities of chairs de-voted to issues of European integration, by contributing financially to endowing the holders of these chairs with the necessary re-sources for research and studies that should be as extensive as possible” 37.

The 1955 reform in France gave a more important place in law and economics faculties, after the licence stage, to international law, international relations and therefore also European issues. In 1956, Professor de Visschcr gave a course on the ECSC at the University of Liège. Little by little the movement spread: by fifteen years later, there were hardly any universities not offering some more or less thorough teaching on European matters3lt.

On 24 September 1946, five days after Winston Churchill’s famous speech developing the vision of the United States of Europe

,(l Kurt-Jürgen Mass, Europapolitik, Die Arbeit des Europarates ini Hochschulbereich, Hamburg, Stiftung Huropa-Kollcg, 1970, p. 73 ff.

,7 Lausanne University was the first, in 1957, to create a chair in European integra-tion, which went to Professor Rieben. The Ford Foundaintegra-tion, moreover, awarded an amount of $ 50.000 to the F.uropcan Community Institute for University Studies.

w Daniel Thcrond, L'Université européenne: vicissitudes et perspectives, Law thesis. Université Jean Moulin. Lyon (III), 1975, p. 69.


at Zurich University, the agenda for the sixth session of the

Nordwestdeutsche Ilochschulkonferenz, bringing together, on the

in-itiative of the military authorities, the rectors and Lander represen-tatives of the British occupation zone in Germany, scheduled an item on “ Development o f methods to emphasize European Unity in

Philosophy and Art". The head of the university section in the

military government referred to the widespread criticism among public opinion in Germany and abroad that held the universities responsible for the pre-war nationalist spirit. It praised the efforts of current universities to support students in becoming good Euro-peans, and proposed strengthening these efforts by introducing the European dimension to curricula.

The rectors, however, saw in the European angle only an — important — contribution to the opening up to the outside world of the isolated German universities, and the Conference chairman, the rector of Bonn University, resumed discussion without men-tioning the word Europe. A few German educationalists did how-ever advocate the European idea, such as Sprangcr and Stein, who published works on European education19.

Founded in 1951 at the suggestion of the European Cultural Centre by six institutes, the Association of Institutes of European Studies (AIES), meeting in Bruges on 10 June the same year, also noted "the progress of the European idea in European university

circles..." and expected from it "the realization of the effective moral unity of Europe’s universities". But it regarded as useless “the

creation of a centralized body to be superimposed on or sub-stituted for the existing universities” 40.

These specialized institutes, the European Studies institutes of Nancy, Saarbrücken, Rome and Turin, the European College in Bruges, the European College of Economic and Social Sciences in Paris, the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and the Strasbourg University Centre for Higher European Studies, appeared within universities

.W (^f Waller Rüegg, "Division cl unilé de l'Europe: le rôle des un iv ersitésin

Rehuions internationales, no. 73, printemps 1973. p. 27-42.

4,1 Bulletin du Centre européen de la culture. 6"™ année, no. 3, "Historique de l’idée d'Université européenne", report by Dusan Sidjanski, p. 6.


¿¡âieaïK S & ssaiiM i

during the fifties. They dealt either with the study of specifically European questions, or with more general studies, but drawing on a multinational teaching staff.

Among the common features of the European institutes are that they were post-graduate and that the area of study, while concentrating chiefly on European affairs, was confined neither to the Six, nor to the Seventeen, nor even to Europe. The length o f courses was in principle two semesters, in which students took full-time courses and did team work. Usually operating with a re-stricted body of professors and assistants, the institutes also called in university professors, specialists, and senior European or national officials. While the courses generally led to a higher degree, it was not so much the intrinsic value of the title conferred that should go to the credit of the institutes as the experience they brought of personal thinking undertaken in an enriching hu-man environment. It is no surprise that representatives of the A IES and the Association of European University Teachers stressed the institutes’ contribution and the advantages of their scatter: “ Their

plurality artel the diversity of formulae they offer are in line with the multiplicity o f needs felt by European youth. Their geographical scatter presents indisputable advantages, such as the multiplication o f centres for spreading the European idea [...} the possibility for students from other countries to perfect an institute’s main language and gain more intimate knowledge o f the region it is located in, and the variety o f the programmes”, as well as the community

atmos-phere brought by the small size of each institute41.

This opinion was essentially taken over by the majority of university meetings in the fifties.

University congresses in Saarbriicken and Trieste, and the rectors and vice-chancellors of the universities of seventeen coun-tries meeting in Cambridge from 20 to 27 July 1955 under the auspices of the Western European Union, rejected the idea of creating a classical-type European university. The projects instead referred to the establishment of a post-university institution to

41 See the resolution of the working group on the European University meeting in Geneva on 4 and 5 July 1958. Section HI, Bulletin du Centre européen de la Culture, bemc année, no. 3, juillet 1956, p. 44.


give graduates of national universities additional specialized edu-cation J2.

Summarizing, for university circles the European university’s path lay primarily in coordinating national institutes offering spe-cialized education at postgraduate level. Their proposals aimed at differentiating universities by their quality of work, enabling them to establish centres of excellence and attracting the best professors and students to them from all countries, at least in Europe. The academics were less concerned with training elites in a European perspective. At the level of bachelors’ and masters’ degrees, they were keen on safeguarding the mission of traditional universities, which would progressively be penetrated by a “European spirit", particularly by promoting inter-European exchanges of professors and students and by establishing appropriate programmes.

A European university in the broad sense, requiring the har-monization of national university systems, or a university in the strict sense, the daring experiment of an unheard-of institution: these forerunners of the project involved as many possible real openings as virtual controversies. If one of the trends was to fail to recognize the role of institutions in the search for genuine cultural integration, the other perhaps testifies in its ambition to an excess of abstraction.

These two contradictory but inseparable acceptations of the concept of “ European university" were at the centre of the debate which began when the question came on to the diplomatic stage as part of the relaunching of Europe in the mid-fifties. The Commu-nity bodies then had the matter brought before them by the gov-ernments of the Six. 42

42 L'Europe des universités. Das Europa der Universitäten: Historique de ht Conférence

permanente des recteurs et vice-chanceliers des universités européennes, Documentation établie








Th e Eu r o pe a n Un iv er s it y in t h e Rome Tr ea t y n e g o t ia t io n s The idea of the European University was relaunched in 1955 a narrower political context, that of the six Member States of e European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), meeting in the iessina Conference as the first stage of developing the treaties of ’■tome.

In the run-up to the conference (June 1955), the Govern-ment of the Federal Republic of Germany presented a memo-randum on the advancement of integration. Professor Hallstcin, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the Adenauer Govern-, ment and head of the German delegation, added the proposal for a European University to the proposals for creating a com-mon market. The document states that '"’the Federal Governm ent hopes to show tangible testim on y to young people o f the desire fo r European union, through the foundation o f a European University to be ereated by the six E C S C States"** In so doing, Bonn asserted that it had been guided by the idea that integration ought not to be achieved in the economic area only, but also in culture.

Given the number and importance of points to deal with, there was not enough time to discuss the specific point of the university; but the ministers referred the matter to the expert- assisted intergovernmental committee they set up.

The Spaak report, the content of which was already volumi-nous and controversial, did not devote any study to the university question44. However, the European University was mentioned, howbeit incidentally and secondarily, in the report from the heads of delegation to the Foreign Ministers drawn up on 21 April 1956. The Euratom Commission is seen as having the mission of setting up a joint atomic research centre and a number of schools to train specialists, since “ Europe is suffering from a great lag in the number

4’ ARC-CONS; CM/3, no, 315. ‘History of the negotiations'. Article 9; ECHA; CM J\958, no. 951. section C in Minutes o f the meeting o f Ministers i f Foreign Affairs in

Messina, 1 and 2 June 1955.

44 Cf. Atlilio Cattani. “ L‘Université européenne'' in Problèmes de fEurope. no. 46. Paris-Rome 1969, p. 12.


and degree of specialized training of its technicians"45 46. "The school and research centre might constitute the basis for a European University where scientists from the various countries would teach together; like any university it would have to have recognized autonomy"46. The

report by heads of delegation was approved by the ministers on 29 and 30 May in Venice.

A second intergovernmental committee chaired by Paul-Henri Spaak was given the task of drafting the treaties, and negotiations began at Val Duchesse near Brussels.

In the Euratom group, the first meetings were devoted to what became Chapter I of the Treaty, the promotion of research.

It was on 3 and 4 July 1956, when it came to the creation of the joint nuclear research centre (present Article 8), that the bomb-shell came. The German delegate Hacdrich announced his Govern-ment’s intention to deposit a note on the project for a European University, the essence of which he presented: the joint nuclear research centre would consist of a “ European institute of advanced studies” complete from undergraduate to postgraduate level, with its traditional faculties of science, arts, medicine and law and the two-fold function of teaching and research.

According to the testimony of the French delegate to the Euratom group, Felix-Paul Mcrccrcau, the document caused real amazement. Nobody had contemplated a joint research centre with such a design. It is true that the Federal Republic of Germany did not yet have any atomic research centres: Karlsruhe was just under construction. Most other countries already had centres running: Ispra in Italy, Mol in Belgium, Pcttcn in the Netherlands, Saclay, Fontcnay aux Roses and Marcoulc in France. On the French side, it was believed that the Auswärtiges Amt had a lack of informa-tion47. Everyone then sought to convince Haedrich of the need for a quite different pattern from a university. In vain: Hacdrich stuck

45 ARC-CONS; CM/3, no. 315, “History of the negotiations”, Article 9; and Inter-governmental Committee set up by the Messina Conference. Report by heads of delegation to the Foreign Ministers, Part 2, Chapter 1, section 1.

46 I hid.

47 F.CHA; tnt/PM, transcription of the testimony of Félix-Paul Mercereau, French delegate to the Euratom intergovernmental committee, June 1986. and interview with him by Jean-Marie Palayrct, Isscy-lcs-Moulincaux, 19 March 1996.


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