Jacques Delors, the French statesman and key architect of the European Union, has died at 98. A tireless advocate for European integration, Delors served as president of the European Commission from 1984 to 1995. He was a driving force behind the establishment of the single market and the euro currency.
Delors was born on July 20, 1925, in Paris. After studying economics at the University of Paris, Delors joined the French Socialist Party in 1972 and served in the government of the newly-elected president, François Mitterand. In 1984, Delors was appointed president of the European Commission by European Council leaders.
At the time, the European Economic Community (EEC) had suffered from the failure of the ambitions of the Werner Plan, the common agricultural policy, and the lengthy economic recession of the 1970s. During his 11 years in office, Delors worked tirelessly to strengthen European integration and tried to move the continent from a mere free-trade zone to a fully-fledged economic and political union.
Delors is most well-known for his role in creating the European Single Market, which was implemented in 1993. This allowed citizens of member states to enjoy the same rights and benefits in any other member state. He was also responsible for developing the euro currency and helping to launch the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union.
The Delors legacy remains an integral part of European integration and unity. His work in the making of the Single Market and the euro is without parallel and has ensured that the European project has been a success. He is remembered by the citizens of the European Union as a champion of European integration who dedicated his life to achieving a better and united Europe.
The European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen hailed Delors as “a man with big ideas and a strong drive he did not hesitate to share”. She vowed to continue the work in furthering Delors’ vision of ‘united in diversity’.
Jacques Delors was a giant of European integration whose death will be mourned by Europeans across the continent. His contributions to the European Union will be remembered and continue to shape the future of the European project. His leadership and dedication will be remembered as a great example of the power of unity to do good in the world.