Delors’ Vision Realized: EU Expands with New Members and Currency

27 February 2024

**Jacques Delors: The Visionary Who Deepened European Integration**

The late Jacques Delors, who passed away on December 27, 2023, is remembered for his transformative role as the President of the European Commission from 1985. Delors, a Christian technocrat-politician of French Socialist origin, had a profound understanding of the European Economic Community (EEC) and its potential to prevent the kind of catastrophic conflicts that had ravaged Europe for centuries.

Delors’ tenure coincided with a period when Cyprus, under President Spyros Kyprianou, maintained a technical commercial relationship with the EEC. This relationship was largely influenced by the United Kingdom’s accession to the EEC and Cyprus’ status as part of the “Non-Aligned” movement. However, Delors’ ambitions for the EEC extended far beyond these existing frameworks.

To achieve his strategic goal of preventing new conflicts in Europe, Delors knew he needed to deepen cooperation among EEC members. His vision included expanding the community and introducing a pan-European currency to replace the Deutsche Mark. This currency would be accepted by all member states, despite their diverse levels of development and operational models.

Delors recognized the challenges outlined by Mundell’s economic theory of common currencies (Optimum Currency Area Theory). He understood that adopting a common currency required a framework of fiscal and financial discipline. This framework materialized as the Maastricht criteria, which later played a crucial role in the rescue of the euro and the EU, enforced by figures like Schäuble.

Throughout his efforts, Delors was supported by key political figures such as West German Chancellor Kohl, received tolerance from Mitterrand, navigated Thatcher’s rigid liberal logic, and enjoyed political protection from Bush’s USA. His term also saw the expansion of the EEC with Spain and Portugal in 1986 and Austria and Sweden in 1995.

Delors’ legacy culminated in the 2004 enlargement of what had become the European Union, with Cyprus among the ten new member states. Notably, Cyprus’ application in 1990 and accession in 2004 were signed by Presidents supported by AKEL—the same party that had once criticized the EEC.

Jacques Delors’ tenure as president was marked by significant milestones that shaped the future of Europe. His dedication to creating a united Europe through economic integration and cooperation remains a testament to his visionary leadership.

European Commission

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