G. McConway
December 29, 2023

Jacques Delors, Architect Behind European Unity, Dead at 98

One of the more legendary names in the history of European politics has passed away.

Jacques Delors, a French politician known for driving a more unified Europe, died on Wednesday.

Delors was 98 years old.

His Legacy

From 1985 to 1994, Delors served as the president of the European Commission.

At the time, Europe was facing a debt crisis, but he maintained his belief in a federal and communal Europe.

At the heart of this was whether richer areas of Europe would contribute to southern Europe, which was nearly bankrupt at the time.

His vision has remained in place for decades, with its only black eye being BREXIT, when Britain left the European Union in 2020.

In fact, that union has actually become stronger, now 27 countries compared to the 10 that were part of the EU when Delors was in office.

Delors was also behind the adoption of the Euro as the common currency of Europe, first laying out his plan in 1989, with the Euro being formally adopted a decade later.

In a 2011, interview, Delors explained, “The finance ministers did not want to see anything disagreeable which they would be forced to deal with.”

He later added that the countries had a choice “either to accept a greater transfer of sovereignty or to submit to a common discipline.”

One could say that his ultimate goal of making a united Europe on par with the United States and Japan in terms of global influence has been achieved.

Two pieces of legislation largely responsible for his vision coming to fruition were the Single European Act of 1986 and the Maastricht Treaty, which was signed in 1992.

Oddly enough, Delors never chose to run for president in France in 1994, when he was at the height of his popularity.

The eventual winner of the election was Jacques Chirac, who held the office from 1995 to 2007 but trailed Delors considerably in polling at the time.

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