Europe mourns the father of the EU, the Euro and Erasmus

The French socialist politician, Jacques DelorsHe died this Wednesday at the age of 98. The former president of the European Commission, which he held for ten years, is considered one of the fathers of the European integration project, along with the French president, due to his role in the creation of the euro. François Mitterrand and the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. France and the European Union have lost one of the politicians most instrumental in building the community club over the last half century and one of its staunchest defenders. His light blue eyes illuminated his entire face and were able to convince even the most indecisive and seduce his opponents.

Delors was born into a modest family in Paris and, after studying economics at the Sorbonne University, began working at the Bank of France in 1945. From a young age he felt the call of politics and its social concerns and beliefs. Religious His faith led him to join the French Confederation of Christian Workers.

At the age of 54, he was elected as a member of the European Parliament in the first general elections. In 1981 he was appointed Minister of Economy and Finance of France and used this position to initiate steps towards the European integration of the French economy. During this time he represented the centrist wing of the Mitterrand government.

In 1985, the name of Jacques Delors became forever linked to the European integration project when he was appointed President of the Commission and then of the European Communities at a time considered golden in the institution. With him at the helm, the Community Club takes big steps and projects that seemed like a chimera become reality, such as the internal market (Single Act), the monetary and economic union from which the euro emerges (implementation for the first time). a European Central Bank and economic convergence criteria), the European social dialogue, the expansion of the bloc or the Erasmus university exchange program.

The so-called Delors Commission (1985-95) was actually formed for three different periods and the French politician was president five times for two years each. During the third Delors Commission, the community club was renamed the European Union with the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, two years before the socialist politician ended his mandate. This very text is Delors’ greatest contribution to the construction of Europe as we know it. The new treaty includes the concept of European citizenship and the pillars of the common foreign and security policy and cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs appear for the first time. Sometimes derogatorily referred to as “merchants’ Europe,” Europe is trying to combine the social protection typical of European welfare states with a unified voice in foreign policy – ​​a challenge that continues.

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But while Jacques Delors is the symbol of boldness and leadership in the community bubble and corridors of Brussels, in France his figure is associated with severity and indecision. A paradox that seemed to torment him too. It was in 1995 when the respected Delors refused in a televised address to run for the French presidential election, missing a golden opportunity despite being the favorite in the polls. As a 69-year-old, he based his decision on his advanced age and the need to advance his daughter’s political career. Martine Aubry.

“Either I lied to my country, or I lied to the socialists,” he explained, fearing that part of his party would end up not supporting him because they considered him too centrist compared to the general secretary’s more revolutionary profile. Henri Emmanuelli. In a newspaper interview Le Monde Although he himself admitted that he regretted this decision 10 years ago, he himself admitted that he sometimes regrets it. His refusal to become a presidential candidate meant his political death, but he continued to contribute as a thinker to the European integration project Think tank Notre Europe in 1995, which he founded on the advice of Kohl and Felipe Gonzalez. “The fight for a strong Europe that willingly supports its values ​​remains mine. “I get angry when I have the impression that this European Union is moving away,” he said. In 2015 he was made an honorary citizen of Europe, an award that has only been given before Jean Monnet and cabbage.

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