Dr. Elena Danescu

Elena Danescu

Research scientist

Faculté ou Centre Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History
Department Contemporary European History
Adresse postale Université du Luxembourg
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette
Bureau sur le campus MSH, E04 25-440
E-mail
Téléphone (+352) 46 66 44 9025

Elena Danescu is a Research Scientist at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), the University of Luxembourg’s third interdisciplinary research centre, which focuses on high-quality research, analysis and outreach in contemporary Luxembourgish and European history. She holds an accreditation to supervise PhD candidates in history (ADR) and is a supervisor for the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences (DSHSS).

She holds a PhD in Political Economics (1998) from the National Institute of Economic Research (INCE) of the Romanian Academy, with a thesis on the Luxembourg development model and the achievements of Pierre Werner. She also has a DEA postgraduate diploma in international, diplomatic and strategic relations from Paris III University and a Master’s degree in Economics from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies (ASE).

Elena Danescu began her research career at the National Institute of Economic Research of the Romanian Academy (INCE) in the interdisciplinary comparative research group investigating the transition to democracy of Central and Eastern European countries. In this capacity she contributed to the development of the strategy for the introduction of a market economy in Romania (1990). As a researcher and diplomat (an expert seconded to the Romanian Foreign Ministry), she then turned her focus to Europeanisation, the history of European integration and the Luxembourgish development model, helping prepare the strategy for Romania’s accession to the EU (1995) and analysing the “Community acquis”, while playing an active role in various diplomatic negotiations. During this period, she was involved in several international projects, networks and multilateral cultural diplomacy missions, particularly for UNESCO. From 1991 to 1998 she was a part-time lecturer at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE), teaching on Master-level courses and seminars on European and international organisations, the history of European integration, and economies and societies in transition. In 2009, she joined the European Integration Studies Department of the Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe (CVCE), where she developed the interdisciplinary “Pierre Werner and Europe” research project (2011-2017) based on an exploration of the Werner family archives, opened for the first time for research purposes. She joined the University of Luxembourg on 1 July 2016.

Her research includes questions of contemporary European history, history of economic thought, Luxembourg and European integration, Economic and Monetary Union and economic governance, banking history, oral history, democratic transitions in Eastern European countries, and the EU’s eastward enlargement. She is the PI of two ongoing interdisciplinary research projects: “Competition, convergence, harmonisation – a comparative analysis of taxation in the Benelux states” (FISCOLUX: 2019-2023) and “Le rôle des femmes dans les relations européennes et internationales du Luxembourg” (RelINT_EULUX: 2021-2025) – a multimedia project that sets out to create new oral history sources. The interviews will be published on the University of Luxembourg’s research infrastructure and will also be shared with the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) in Florence and the European Parliamentary Research Service. In recent years she also successfully submitted two competitive public history projects for the University of Luxembourg, “Europe Direct Information Centre de l’Université du Luxembourg (2019-2021)” and “Europe Direct University of Luxembourg (2021-2025)”, both co-funded by the European Union. She manages the Europe Direct centre, which is geared towards a broad audience with the aim of informing students, researchers, teachers and the public about the European Union’s history and current affairs and reflecting on potential future challenges. It organises lectures, seminars, discussions and exhibitions and offers a wide range of information about the history of European integration, the EU institutions and the workings and policies of a united Europe.

Her current teaching activities include the courses “Histoire de la construction européenne (1919-1993)” and “Histoire économique et sociale de l’Europe après 1945 – concepts, processus, acteurs”, both part of the Master en Histoire européenne contemporaine (MAHEC), and “Transitions démocratiques en Europe centrale et orientale: histoire, mémoire(s), défis” for the Bachelor en Cultures européennes (BCE). In 2015 she began running the course « Le Luxembourg et l’intégration européenne » at the Luxembourg National Institute for Public Administration. Since 2017 she has supervised 9 Master’s students and 1 PhD student.

Elena Danescu has authored numerous publications in her areas of expertise. She regularly participates in the peer review process of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought (Cambridge Core), the Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge), and of the Journal of European Integration History (Nomos Verlag). Since 2015, she has been involved in the evaluation of interdisciplinary research projects submitted to COST Association, MIUR/ Italian Research Funding, and to the Robert Triffin International Foundation.

Since many years, she is an active member of several prestigious professional associations worldwide (EUSA, UACES, ESHET, AISPE, SOLEP). She is an elected member of the University Council (2018-2023), the Board of the Fondation du Mérite européen and the Council of the Fondation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe.

Awards: In 2020 Elena Danescu was awarded the Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship in international relations by the European University Institute (Florence).

Appointments and Affiliations

Last updated on: mercredi 22 juin 2022

Projects

Le rôle des femmes dans les relations européennes et internationales du Luxembourg (Relint-EULUX: 2022-2025)

The presence and influence of women in international relations and diplomacy is a subject that has received little attention in contemporary historiography. In this context and given the absence of systematic archive sources, the aim of this interdisciplinary multimedia research project is to create new oral history sources and databases, to improve critical research and scholarly discourse in the field by conducting semi-structured filmed interviews with women from a wide variety of backgrounds (political, diplomatic, economic, trade union, cultural, technocratic, civil society, etc.) whose achievements have left a mark on European and international relations in Luxembourg after the Second World War. Relint-EULUX is carried out in cooperation with the C²DH’s Oral History research team, the MediaCentre at the University of Luxembourg and the students of the Master Programme in Contemporary European History. The  interviews  will subsequently be published – in full, as a series of themed excerpts and in transcription form – on the University of Luxembourg’s research infrastructure (CVCE.eu by Uni.lu) and will also be shared with the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) in Florence and the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). Elena Danescu is PI and project manager.

Europe Direct at the University of Luxembourg (ED-UNILU: 2021-2025)

This competitive Public History Project co-funded by the European Union (2021-2025) is geared towards a broad multicultural and multilingual audience with the aim of informing students, researchers, teachers and the public the Greater Region about issues related to the history, current challenges and futur prospects of the European Union. It organises various lectures, seminars, debates and exhibitions and offers a a wide range of insights about the European integration process (theories, institutions, policies, crises, networks, public and private actors, key figures). ED-UNILU maximises the potential of the location of the University in one of the EU’s permanent capitals, and through synergies with the European institutions based in Luxembourg, with universities, research centres and historical archives worldwide makes a consistent contribution to the development of teaching and critical research focused on European integration, to knowledge-sharing with the public and main stakeholders, and to citizen education, especially among young people. Elena Danescu is PI and project manager.

Sustainable Governance Indicators – Luxembourg (SGI: 2021 -   )

The system of Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) provide the most comprehensive analysis of sustainable governance in OECD and EU countries, including Luxembourg. Advocating the exchange of good practices, the SGI - carried out by a network of universities and experts, and coordinated by the Institute of Comparative Politics and Public Policy (CoPPP), Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany) and Bertelsmann Foundation, - offers full access to a wide range of data sets and analysis and enable comparisons that generate future innovations in European governance. Elena Danescu is working on the Luxembourg case study in the framework of an interdisciplinary research team composed by Prof. Nils Bandelow (Universität Braunschweig), Dr Franz Clément and Dr Adrien Thomas (Luxembourg Institute for Socio-Economic Research).

European Citizens' Initiative:  A Tool for Engagement and Active Citizenship (ECI: 2021-2024)

Funded by the European Union (Erasmus Plus KA203 - Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education), this project plans to improve the development of EU-related hard competences and soft skills in higher education systems. Its core purpose is to experiment new methods and tools for learning processes that are to be applied in a collaborative and practical way (learning by doing) in which students co-construct, create and launch their own citizens’ initiatives from a cross-disciplinary perspective. ECI is carried out by a consortium of academic partners composed by the University of Coimbra (Portugal), the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi (Romania), Georg-August University of Göttingen (Germany), the University of Vigo (Spain) and the University of Luxembourg. Elena Danescu is a steering group member and is contributing, among other things, to the joint development of innovative curricula, teaching modules including the use of digital methods and tools, distance learning and best practices.

Competition, convergence, harmonisation – a comparative analysis of taxation in the Benelux states (1945-1992) (FISCOLUX: 2019-2022)

The purpose of this cross-disciplinary research project is to perform a comparative historical analysis of the development and specific characteristics of taxation in Luxembourg in a multidimensional context – national (Luxembourg), regional (relations with traditional partners – Belgium and the Netherlands but also Germany and France), European (ECSC, EEC and EU) and international (OECD, GATT/WTO) – in the second half of the 20th century. The two aspects of taxation are addressed: direct taxation (a prerogative of states) and indirect taxation (subject to international regulation). The special situation of small states (Luxembourg and Belgium) and their impact in shaping the European and international guidelines in the field are also highlighted. Research involves exploring and comparing a wide range of primary archival sources accounts examining a variety of institutions, players and mechanisms and setting these findings against existing literature in the field. The timeframe stretches from the end of the war (1944) to the Maastricht Treaty (1992). The project resulted in scientific peer-reviewed publications, conferences, online lectures and podcasts realized with the European Investment Bank and the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies. Elena Danescu is PI and project manager.

Parallel to this, Elena Danescu is working on the history of the banking and financial industry in Luxembourg (with particular emphasis on the Banque Générale du Luxembourg, founded in 1919).

Europe Direct Information Centre at the University of Luxembourg (EDIC: 2019-2021)

Following its participation in the European Commission competitive call for proposals in 2017, the project of the University of Luxembourg succeeded and the University was selected as a European Union’s partner to run a Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) for the period 2019-2021. Based in the Luxembourg Learning Centre (LLC), EDIC is coordinated by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH). The project resulted in 40 wide-ranging events such as conferences, lectures, exhibitions, study days, debates, print and online publications, which took place on the University of Luxembourg’s Belval campus and also online, during the lockdown period imposed by the pandemic. The events focused on the past, present and future of the EU (including the national and international dimensions of European integration process, the institutional history and constitutional evolution of the EU, borders and migrations, the European social model, the impact of Brexit) were organised in cooperation with a network of more than 50 partners all over Europe and were attended by international audiences (especially students, researchers and teachers), but also general public of all ages and walks of life. Among EDIC’s outputs should be mentioned the historical publication for the 70th anniversary of the declaration by Robert Schuman, which looked at the declaration itself and its impact in Luxembourg, which was drafted with the European Commission Representation in Luxembourg, produced in cooperation with the Publications Office of the European Union and disseminated in various linguistic versions in EU 27 Member States. Elena Danescu is PI and project manager.

Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (JMCE: 2015-2018)

Elena Danescu has been involved as a founding member and internal fellow in the creation in 2016 of the Robert Schuman Initiative for European Affairs at the University of Luxembourg, funded by the European Commission as a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (2015-2018). Coordinated by the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance and the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History this interfaculty project focusing the interdisciplinary study of European integration process and the European Union has been awarded new funding over the period 2018-2022 in recognition of its academic leadership in the field of European Union studies.

Pierre Werner and Europe (PWE: 2011-2017)

This cross-disciplinary multiannual research project based on the exploration of Pierre Werner’s family archives opened for the first time for research purposes as well as various international archives and a series of original oral history interviews, looks back at the career and achievements of a man who was Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Luxembourg for many decades, leaving his legacy on the future of his country and the European integration process. Many of the bold initiatives he pioneered – including diversifying and expanding Luxembourg’s economy, promoting the country to the status of an international financial centre, developing the audiovisual industry via the satellite project, laying the foundations for an economic and monetary union in Europe and developing a culture of social dialogue and consensus – were subsequently taken up by Luxembourg’s new generations of leadership. The first stage of the project was focused on the emergence of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) through the Werner Report drawn up by a group of experts chaired by Pierre Werner and officially presented on 8 October 1970 in Luxembourg. The research also examined a number of issues in which the former Luxembourg Prime Minister was particularly involved, such as the question of the seats of the institutions, the Luxembourg Compromise, the accession of the UK, the small stated diplomacy - and cooperation between the Benelux countries and the Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) – in shaping EMU. The project resulted on a wide range of peer-reviewed publications and outstanding scientific and public events, a book, digital research corpora and other e-publications, a rich collection of oral history accounts published on the research infrastructure of the University of Luxembourg and shared with the Historical Archives of the European Union, Florence (HAEU), the development of digital methods and tools related to the network analysis, experimental multimedia projects. PWE was supported by the Pierre Werner Foundation under the aegis of Fondation du Luxembourg and by the FNR Luxembourg. Elena Danescu is PI and project manager.

Public History Multimedia Projects (From 2011 to present)

Based on the oral history dimension developed during the “Pierre Werner and Europe” research project (2011-2017), which resulted in more than 55 hours of interview footage with major players in the European integration process, as well as unpublished images and photos from the Pierre Werner family archives, Elena Danescu initiated, designed and realized together with her research team the biographical documentary “Pierre Werner and Europe”, which last enhanced version was published in 2020.

In 2020, Elena Danescu and an interdisciplinary research team from the University of Luxembourg set up a portal dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Werner Report, progressively developed for the period 2020-2024 and shared with the European University Institute, Florence (EUI) and the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU).

Elena Danescu is PI and project manager.



Last updated on: 27 juin 2022

Teaching

Course for the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences (DSHSS), University of Luxembourg

  • Histoire de l’intégration européenne (PhD-level)

Courses for the Master en Histoire européenne contemporaine (MAHEC), University of Luxembourg

  • Histoire de la construction européenne (1919-1993) (MA-level)
  • Histoire économique et sociale de l’Europe après 1945 – concepts, processus, acteurs  (MA-level)

Course for the Bachelor en cultures européennes (BCE), University of Luxembourg

  • Transitions démocratiques en Europe centrale et orientale : histoire, mémoire(s), défis (BA-level)

Experimental teaching

  • Analyse textométrique sur un corpus d’histoire orale de l’intégration européenne (interdisciplinary project carried out with researchers in the Public History and DH departments at the C²DH and developed with MAHEC students at MA-level)
  • Nouveaux narratifs historiques à travers l’analyse herméneutique d’images (interdisciplinary project carried out with researchers in the EHI and Public History at the C²DH and developed with BCE students at CA-level)

Course for the Institut National d’Administration publique, Luxembourg

  • Le Luxembourg et l’intégration européenne (post-graduated level)

 

Supervision

Master level

  • Les médias et la crise de la sidérurgie dans le bassin houiller dans les années 1970-1980 – la radio pirate « Lorraine cœur d’acier » - Student Mélaine Athimon. [Master trinational en Études franco-allemandes - Communication et coopération transfrontalières (MADFS)]. Co-supervision with Prof. Reiner Marcowitz, Université de Lorraine. (ongoing project)
  • L’évolution de la Cour de Justice de l’Union européenne (structure, compétences, jurisprudence) sous et l’impact de l’élargissement communautaire aux pays de l’Europe centrale et orientale (working title). – Student Ana-Maria-Karina Negrea (MAHEC) (ongoing project)
  • Le rôle des femmes dans les relations internationales du Luxembourg après la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Une étude de cas à travers un projet d’histoire orale  – Student Anne Schmit (MAHEC) (Master thesis dissertation on 10 June 2022)
  • Les petits États dans les transitions hégémoniques. Étude de cas : Le Luxembourg dans les dynamismes mondiaux – Student Kim Meyers (MAHEC) (Master thesis defence on 18 November 2021)
  • Et si la C.E.C.A. ne s’était pas installée à Luxembourg?. De la portée historique d’un événement surprise » - Student Alvin Sold  (MAHEC) (Master thesis defence on 25 August 2021)
  • Approaching anti-money laundering from historical perspective: from the 1st anti-money laundering directive to Luxembourg – Studen Ioana Turdean (MAHEC) (Master thesis defence on 21 July 2021)
  • Le potentiel d’un Office transméditerranéen pour la Jeunesse » - étudiante Mariam Pakao [Matricule 2573159 – Master trinational en Études franco-allemandes - Communication et coopération transfrontalières (MADFS)]. Co-supervision with Prof.Markus Messling, Université de Saarbrück (Master thesis defence on 1er February 2021)
  • Eurobonds in European units of account and their role in European monetary integration: From a Luxembourg perspective (1961-1981) – Student Anqi Cheng (MAHEC) (Master thesis defence on 16 August 2019)
  • L’Europe face au défi de la politique de la Fédération de Russie dans l’ex espace soviétique (1991-1999). Quelle place pour la Moldavie dans l’UE ? – Student Ana Pacu (MAHEC)

PhD level

  • La CECA enlevée aux « autres » par l’adroit Grand-Duché : un mythe politique ? A la recherche de la vérité historique sur l’événement et son impact sur le devenir du Luxembourg (working title) –  Alvin Sold (PhD research project 2022-2026)



Last updated on: 27 juin 2022