Mr Arnaud Balner

Mr Arnaud Balner

PhD Student

Department of International History

Connect with me

English, French, German
Key Expertise
International history, European Union, European Commission, OECD

About me

I originally come from Paris, France. After my studies in History, Public Administration and International Relations at the University Paris Sorbonne and Sciences Po Paris, I worked as a trainee at the French Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, at the French Embassy in New Delhi and at the European External Action Service in Brussels, which confirmed my interest in international and European affairs. I started working as a diplomat at the French Foreign Ministry in 2012, first on France's international response to humanitarian crises at the Crisis Centre for three years, and then on EU and NATO maritime operations at the Directorate for Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament for two years. From September 2017 to August 2020, I worked at the French Embassy in London as chief of staff to the French Ambassador, and then as political counselor for America, Asia, Francophonie, Commonwealth and Sport. In September 2020, I joined the General Secretariat for European Affairs (SGAE) in Paris as head of division. I also taught European Affairs as a lecturer at Sciences Po Paris from 2014 to 2015. I am a part-time PhD student.

Provisional thesis title

Robert Marjolin, European civil Servant (1948-1967)

My thesis, supervised by Professor N. Piers Ludlow, examines the role of Robert Marjolin, French high civil servant, in the European construction from 1948 to 1957. Even though Marjolin is not a very famous figure in our collective memory, he played an important role in the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. He contributed to implementing the Marshall Plan as Secretary General of the Economic Organization for European Cooperation (1948-1955), to negotiating the 1957 Treaty of Rome as a member of the French delegation, and to establishing the foundations of the European economic institutions as Vice-President of the European Commission for economic and financial affairs (1958-1967). Coming from a poor background and with no A-levels (baccalauréat), he finally became the first French European Commissioner.

However, his work as Secretary General of the European Organisation for Economic Cooperation became challenging because of some divergences of views between the Americans and the European countries on the conditions of delivery of the Marshall Plan. In addition, he had to face strong resistance on the establishment of the European Economic Community from some key political and administrative figures during the negotiations of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. His relations with General de Gaulle, President of the French Republic (1958-1969), were sometimes difficult, notably because of a difference of conceptions of Europe and of the common policies fostered by the European Commission. Finally, even though he experienced close relations with the other members of the European Commission, some disagreements emerged, in particular on institutional matters and the common agricultural policy.

The goal of this research is to determine the role of Robert Marjolin in the history of the European construction, to identify his political conception of Europe, to better understand his relations with the French government and how he considered the role of the public institutions in business activities. This work will be based on the archives of the Jean Monnet Foundation, the European Union, the OECD, the French diplomatic archives and those of the French Ministry of Finances.

Expertise Details

European Economic Community; European construction; European Union; Economic Policy; Budgetary Policy; Monetary Policy; Common Agricultural Policy; Regional Policy

Awards and grants

  • Honour Medal (gold) of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2015