Jacques Delors, former European Union's Commission president, dies at 98

Jacques Delors, former European Union's Commission president, dies at 98

Jacques Delors, the former European Commission chief and a key figure in the establishment of the European Union's historic single currency project, passed away at the age of 98, Al Jazeera reported.

The French socialist, known for his staunch advocacy of post-war European integration, died in his sleep at his home in Paris, as announced by his family.

Delors served as president of the European Commission for three terms - longer than any other holder of the office - from January 1985 until the end of 1994.

Delors served an unprecedented three terms as the President of the European Commission, from January 1985 untill the end of 1994. During Delors's decade as the European Commission chief, the EU completed its integrated single market and agreed to introduce a single currency, the euro, and built a common foreign and security policy, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Additionally, the conditions for admitting former communist states from Central and Eastern Europe were set during his leadership, following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

A key figure in French politics, Delors also served as the finance minister under President Francois Mitterrand from 1981 to 1984. Despite being a frontrunner in the polls, he chose not to run for the presidency in 1995, citing a "desire for independence that was too great".

"I have no regrets," he said about that decision later. "But I am not saying I was right," according to Al Jazeera.

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the former EU leader as an "inexhaustible architect of our Europe" and a fighter for human justice.

Posting on X (formerly Twitter), Macron said "his commitment, his ideal and his rectitude will always inspire us". He called Delors "a statesman with a French destiny".

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator during the UK's departure from the bloc, hailed Delors as an inspiration and a reason to believe in a certain idea of politics, France, and Europe.

Delors's term as the European Commission president saw clashes with then-UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who resisted any transfer of power to Brussels. Despite challenges, Delors played a crucial role in establishing key aspects of the EU's integration, such as the Schengen accords for travel and the Erasmus program for student exchanges.

Jacques Delors is survived by his daughter Martine Aubry, a French politician and mayor of Lille, who ran for the socialist candidacy for the French presidency in 2011, losing to Francois Hollande, Al Jazeera reported. (ANI)