The Werner Report

A plan by stages for economic and monetary union in Europe

The official presentation of the Werner Report: press conference held by Pierre Werner (Luxembourg, 8 October 1970)

“I am happy to note that on all these aspects we forged a unanimous collective view. Of course these joint replies do not reflect all the individual preferences of the members of the group. But we do think that having looked at the question from all sides, at long sessions where we compared a range of ideas, we have succeeded in giving shape to the wish for proceeding in parallel on the measures to be taken in the economic and financial fields. What we aspired to do was, once and for all, to break the vicious circle consisting of setting prior economic and political conditions. We have tried to draw a line midway between the view that monetary union is the crowning glory of European integration and the view that would turn it into the virtually all-powerful engine driving integration. I think the proposals are in line with the existing treaties, and that they do, precisely, ensure that the objectives of the treaties will be achieved in full.”

Statement by Pierre Werner to the Council of Ministers, Luxembourg, 26 October 1970. In Bulletin de documentation, Directorate for Publications, Press and Information Service, Ministry of State, 26 October 1970, No 6, 26th year, Luxembourg (Source: Pierre Werner Family Archives)

On 8 October 1970 in Luxembourg, Pierre Werner officially presented the plan by stages for an economic and monetary union (EMU) in the European Community.

This document was the result of seven months of discussions by a group of experts from the six Member States, chaired by the Luxembourg Prime Minister and Finance Minister. The Werner Report set out the broad lines, principles and stages of an EMU based on the principle of irreversibility and an approach rooted in perfect symmetry between the economic and monetary aspects, with political union as the ultimate objective. It provided for the creation of a “centre of decision for economic policy” that would be “politically responsible to a European Parliament” elected by universal suffrage, and a “Community system for the central banks”. It introduced the notion of strong macroeconomic governance, requiring the coordination of budgetary and monetary policies, and full financial integration. It also envisaged the involvement of the “social partners” (employers and unions) in defining economic and monetary policy, since the social dimension was seen as an intrinsic part of EMU.

General view of the conference room at the European Summit in The Hague on 1 and 2 December 1969. © Belga Photo / Images Globe

Read the final version of the "Werner report"

Meeting between Pierre Werner, Luxembourg Prime Minister and Finance Minister (on the right), and French Finance Minister Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (on the left) in 1969. © Archives familiales Pierre Werner

Source: Werner/Barre: unité monétaire européenne / Pierre Werner.- RTL [Prod.], 08.10.1970. RTL, Paris. – SON (00:04:04, Montage, Son original). © Archives RTL

On 8 October 1970, Pierre Werner, Luxembourg Prime Minister and Finance Minister, presents to the press his final report on the conditions required for the establishment of economic and monetary union (EMU) in successive stages.

Pierre Werner, surrounded by Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg Prime Minister, and Jacques Santer, President of the European Commission, on the evening of December 31, 1998, the day before the birth of the euro. © European Union

Although it was ultimately not implemented, the Werner Report led to the creation of the European Monetary Cooperation Fund (EMCF) in 1973 in Luxembourg – the embryo of the future European Central Bank. This institutional architecture was inspired by the reflections on a European reserve fund initiated in 1948 by Robert Triffin and subsequently developed through his discussions with Jean Monnet and Pierre Werner. The three were committed to the European cause and shared the same vision of EMU, rooted in “perfect parallelism”, democratic strength and a social dimension. Robert Triffin and Jean Monnet, together with other members of Monnet’s Action Committee for a United States of Europe, intended to work on the strategy devised by Pierre Werner to build a political consensus around the report. Despite the fact that the Werner Report was effectively shelved in 1974 as a result of the collapse of the Bretton Woods system and the energy crisis, it largely inspired the Delors Report (1989) and the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. The creation of the European Central Bank on 1 June 1998 and the introduction of the euro on 1 January 1999 marked the establishment of EMU, although the asymmetry between the monetary and economic dimensions was a source of intrinsic weaknesses. But despite these structural defects, compounded by subsequent 2 political and democratic upheavals and the global financial crisis, EMU has proven resilient, and the euro has maintained its credibility, attractiveness and international role.

On 4 December 2001, Yves Mersch (on the right), President of the Central Bank of Luxembourg (BCL), presents a euro banknote to Pierre Werner (on the left), and emphasises the major contribution made by Pierre Werner to the establishment of European Monetary Union. © Archives familiales Pierre Werner