Jacques Delors, one of the politicians behind the birth of the European Union, dies – El Sol de México

The Frenchman Jacques Delors, one of the politicians who devised the European Union and the creation of the euro, died this December 27 at the age of 98.

The former president of the European Commission “died this morning at his Paris home while he was sleeping,” Martine Aubry, his daughter, told AFP.

Delors was the “inexhaustible architect of our Europe,” said French President Emmanuel Macron on the social network X.

Minister of Economy from 1981 to 1984, under the presidency of the socialist François Mitterrand, Delors frustrated the hopes of the French left when he refused to stand in the 1995 elections, despite being the clear favorite in the polls.

After serving as Minister of Economy, he was appointed president of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, based in Brussels.

His management, from 1985 to 1995, was marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), which put an end to the existing division in Europe after the Second World War, and the beginning of negotiations to integrate countries from the EU into the EU. former Soviet bloc.

Delors promoted the creation of the single market, the signing of the Schengen agreements (free movement of people), the Erasmus student exchange program and the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Under his mandate, the economic and monetary union was also launched, which would lead to the creation of the euro, the single currency shared by 20 of the current 27 members of the EU.

Delors was born on July 20, 1925 in Paris in a Catholic environment. He married Marie Lephaille in 1948 (died 2020), with whom he had two children: Martine Aubry, born in 1950 and current mayor of Lille (north), and Jean-Paul, born in 1953, who died of leukemia in 1982. .

Jacques Delors, Mr. Europe

“The degree to which he personified ‘Europe’ was evident in the labels assigned to him by the world’s media: ‘Mr Europe,’ ‘Tsar of Europe,’ etc.,” wrote biographer Helen Drake in “Jacques Delors – Perspectives on a European Leader”.

The current president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, referred to Delors as “a visionary who made our Europe stronger” and whose “work (…) shaped entire generations of Europeans.”

The president of the Spanish government, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, wrote in X: “Without him, Europe would not be what it is today. We will continue his legacy to consolidate more advances and progress in the Union.”

Delors’s push for greater European integration, however, was met with resistance in some member countries, especially in the United Kingdom of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the Conservative Party.

In March 2020, Delors urged the heads of state and government of EU countries to be more supportive in jointly facing the coronavirus pandemic.

Until his final days, he advocated strengthening European federalism and called for more “boldness” in response to Brexit and attacks by “populists of all stripes.”

Delors founded laboratories of ideas such as the “Club témoin” and “Notre Europe”, which later became the “Jacques-Delors Institute”.

In France, his refusal to run for president in 1994 surprised the entire country.

“I am going to be 70 years old, I have been working non-stop for 50 years and it is more reasonable, in these circumstances, to consider a more balanced lifestyle between reflection and action,” he argued at that time before 13 million television viewers. In 2021 she revealed that there were other reasons for his withdrawal.

“I was too worried about independence and I felt different from those around me. My way of doing politics was not the same,” he told the French weekly Le Point. “I don’t regret it,” but “I’m not saying he was right,” he added.

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