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Definition: Delors from Collins English Dictionary


1 Jacques (Lucien Jean). born 1925, French politician and economist, President of the European Commission (1985–94): originator of the Delors plan for closer European union

Summary Article: Delors, Jacques Lucien Jean
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French socialist politician, economy and finance minister 1981–84 under François Mitterrand's presidency, and president of the European Commission, 1985–94. In the latter role, he oversaw significant budgetary reform, the introduction of the single European market, and the negotiation and ratification of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty on European Union.

Born in Paris, Delors initially rose to prominence through his involvement in social Catholic movements influenced by Emmanuel Mounier. He joined the Bank of France in 1944, where he quickly rose to an executive position; he was head of research for the French Catholic Labour Confederation (CFTC) in 1957. Between 1969 and 1972 he was social affairs adviser to Gaullist prime minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas. Delors joined the Socialist Party in 1974 and was elected to the European Parliament in 1979. As economy and finance minister to President Mitterrand 1981–84, he initially implemented an expansionary economic programme at a time of recession, but persuaded the president to implement a U-turn and introduced an austerity programme (‘rigueur’) in June 1982, with three successive devaluations. This helped establish economic stability, but made Delors unpopular with the party's left wing and he was passed over for the premiership in 1984. As president of the European Commission, Delors was pro-active and developed a high profile across Europe. He gave new direction, pushing through reforms and persuading member states to agree to create, from January 1993, a single market, as the first step towards full economic and political integration. This led to criticism that he was seeking to create a federal Europe. He declined to stand as the Socialists' candidate in the 1995 presidential elections.

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