Former President of the European Commission Jacques Delors (1985-1994) He died this Wednesday at the age of 98, his daughter, the former socialist minister and current mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry, announced to French media.
Minister of Economy in the first Government led by the socialist François Mitterrand, Delors represented a centrist wing of the French Socialist Party. Throughout his political career, he vindicated his Catholic convictions and his union experience in his youth.
In 1985 he replaced the Luxembourger Gaston Thorn at the head of the Community Executive, a position he held until 1994. In December of that year one of the gestures that have marked his political biography occurred.ica, announcing that he was giving up the race for the Elysée the following year despite the fact that he was one of the big favorites in the polls.
A gesture that, justified by personal reasons such as his age, but also by the political situation – he believed that a part of his party would not support him – in practice, meant his departure from the board and the end of his career at the age of 69.
In Brussels, Delors proved to be a fundamental personality in advancing European integration. One of the great symbols of it was the creation in 1987 of the Erasmus program, from which millions of students have benefited since then.
That same year, the Single European Act came into force, which was the culmination of the single market and the resulting free movement of goods, services, capital and people.