Delors’ Vision Realized as EU Expands and Adopts Euro

27 February 2024

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

The European business community remembers Jacques Delors, the former President of the European Commission, who passed away on December 27, 2023. Delors, known for his strategic vision for the European Economic Community (EEC), was a key figure in deepening cooperation among member states and setting the stage for the introduction of a pan-European currency.

During his presidency, which began in 1985, Delors faced the challenge of uniting a diverse group of nations with varying levels of development and different languages. He recognized that to prevent future conflicts in Europe and to achieve economic stability, there needed to be a significant deepening of cooperation within the EEC.

Delors’ approach was grounded in Mundell’s economic theory of Optimum Currency Area, which necessitated a common framework for fiscal and financial discipline. This led to the establishment of the Maastricht criteria, which set strict operating rules for member states aiming to adopt a common currency.

His tenure saw the support of influential leaders like West German Chancellor Kohl, the tolerance of Mitterrand, Thatcher’s liberal logic, and political backing from the USA under President Bush. Delors also oversaw the EEC’s expansion with Spain and Portugal in 1986 and later Austria and Sweden in 1995.

One of Delors’ most significant achievements was the 2004 enlargement of what had become the European Union, with Cyprus among the ten new countries joining. Interestingly, Cyprus’s journey from a technical commercial relationship with the EEC to full membership was marked by a shift in perspective from AKEL, a party that once equated the EEC with NATO.

Delors’ legacy is a testament to his belief in a united Europe, where shared sovereignty and discipline within a common framework could lead to prosperity and peace. His impact on European integration will be remembered as a cornerstone in the EU’s history.

European Commission

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