Jacques Delors, the former president of the European Commission and French politician, has died in his sleep at the age of 98, French media reported on Wednesday.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences over the death of Delors.
“A statesman with a French destiny. An inexhaustible architect of our Europe. A fighter for human justice. Jacques Delors was all of that. His dedication, his ideals and his integrity will always inspire us. I pay tribute to his work and memory and share the pain of his loved ones,” Macron said on X.
European Council President Charles Michel said in a post on X that Delor “transformed The European Economic Community into a true union based on humanistic values and underpinned by a common market and a single currency, the euro,” adding that the former president was “a great Frenchman and a great European,” who “went down in history as one of the creators of our Europe.” Michel has also extended his condolences to Delors’ family.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also said on X that whole generations were shaped by Europe that Delors was building, adding that the politician’s “life goal was a united, dynamic and prosperous Europe,” which “shaped entire generations of Europeans, including my generation.”
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles called in an X post on incumbent politicians to live up to Delors’ legacy, adding that “Europe has just lost one of its giants” who is “part of the pantheon of great Europeans whose legacy we must live up to.”
Jacques Delors served as France’s finance minister from 1981 to 1984 and headed the European Commission from 1985 to 1995. Delors played a key role in the creation of the European single market, the signing of the Schengen Agreement, the launch of the Erasmus student exchange program and the establishment of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union, which has led to the introduction of a single currency, the euro.