Jacques Delors headed the European Commission from 1985 to 1995 and served as France’s finance minister
Former European Commission President Jacques Delors, who is regularly described as the creator of the EU single market, has died in his Paris home at the age of 98, AFP has reported, citing his daughter Martine Aubry.
The French socialist, who was an ardent advocate of European integration after World War II, Delors had made a high-profile political career in his country, where he served as finance minister from 1981 to 1984. He was also an MEP in the European Parliament between 1979 and 1981.
The politician headed the Commission of the European Communities, renamed the European Commission in 1985, and served as its president for three terms until the end of 1994, longer than any other holder of the office. Under his leadership the bloc finalized the integrated single market and agreed to introduce a single currency, the euro.
Under Delors’ tenure the EU created the Schengen agreement for travel within Europe, as well as the Erasmus program for student exchanges. After leaving his post in the Commission, he opted out of standing for the French presidency, despite a strong lead in the polls.
French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Delors on Wednesday via X, formerly Twitter, hailing him as an “inexhaustible craftsman of our Europe” and “a fighter for human justice.”
“Jacques Delors was all these things. His commitment, his ideals and his uprightness will always inspire us. I salute his work and his memory and share the grief of his family,” Macron stated.
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