Interview with Mayhew, Alan

From the The European Commission 1986-2000. Memories of an institution Collection

Identity Statement

HAEU Reference Code
Interview Informations

Recorded in 22 September 2016 Tunbridge Wells
Interview by Angela Romano in English

Access Level
Open Transcript, Closed Audio

Electronic File



During the interview, Mr Mayhew discussed the following topics:
- his educational background and recruitment into the Commission, and career/different posts therein;
- his interest in European affairs before working at the Commission, and his views on the integration process, its values, its goals, the way the Commission operated and does now, the current difficult social and economic situation and consequent dangers for democracy in Europe and the EU;
- his activities and his involvement with civil society and Eastern Europe after he left the Commission (e.g. advising the opposition in Ukraine; advising the government in Croatia, then Lithuania on EU agreements);
- his role in EU negotiations with the Baltic countries;
- his language skills;
- working method and climate in the various posts at the Commission;
- his relations with his own government;
- main challenges while at the Commission;
- his working relations within the Commission, with some specific colleagues, with other DGs’ commissioners and civil servants;
- contacts with lobbyists;
- involvement in setting up a research institute on EC affairs in mid-1980s communist Poland;
- the role of some Member States supporting EU’s policy towards Central and Eastern Europe (associations agreements, Phare), about enlargement and its detail (economic impact);
- Delors’ concern for enlargement impact on integration process;
- Eastern, especially Polish, concern about securing democratic environment and connection with EU;
- detail on negotiations of Association agreements with Central and Eastern European countries (mostly about economics), underlying cultural factors;
- the relative impact of implosion of Yugoslavia and of the Soviet Union, and of German unification, on EU’s policy towards Central and Eastern European countries;
- his years at the UN ECE: dialogue with East, Comecon’s attitude there, recollections on EC-Comecon treaty of 1988. Interviewee’s recollections and assessment of Commission works in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, and the different conditions it could work in.

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