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Jacques Lucien Jean Delors (born 20 July 1925 in Paris) is a French economist and politician, the first person to have served two terms as President of the European Commissionmarker (between January 1985 and December 1994).

French Politics

In the 1940s–1960s, Delors held a series of posts in French banking and state planning with the Banque de Francemarker. As a member of the French Confederation of Christian Workers, he participated in its secularization and the foundation of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour. In 1969, he became an adviser to the Gaullist Prime Minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas.

In 1974, Delors joined the French Socialist Partymarker, with other left-wing Christians. He was one of the rare members of the party to be openly religious, thus challenging its long-standing secular tradition. He served in the European Parliamentmarker from 1979 to 1981. Under President François Mitterrand, Delors served as Economics and Finance Minister from 1981–1983, and Economics, Finance, and Budget Minister from 1983–1984. He advocated a pause in the social policies, a clear acceptance of the market economy, and an alignment with European social democracy. Mitterrand flirted many times with the idea of naming him Prime Minister, but never did.

Delors Commission

Delors in 1988
Delors became the President of the European Commission in January 1985. During his presidency, he oversaw important budgetary reforms and laid the groundwork for the introduction of a single market within the European Community, which came into effect on 1 January 1993. (see Delors Commission for details)

On 1 November 1990, Delors bore the brunt of British Euroscepticism when the tabloid the Sun wrote "Up Yours Delors" in response to his supposed attempts to force the Maastricht Treaty upon the UK.

Post-Presidency

Delors has a long-standing interest in education. Initiator of a French law in 1971 requiring firms to set aside part of their profits for educational opportunities for their employees, he also chaired a UNESCO Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century from 1993 to 1996 whose final report was published as Learning: the Treasure Within.

In 1994, members of the French Socialist party attempted to persuade Delors to run for President of France. Polls showed that he would have a very good chance of defeating either of the main conservative contenders – Prime Minister Édouard Balladur and Mayor of Paris Jacques Chirac. However Delors declined to run and the eventual Socialist nominee, Lionel Jospin, was defeated in the presidential election by Chirac.

Delors founded the Paris think tank Notre Europe in 1996 and remains one of its presidents. He is president of the Conseil de l'emploi, des revenus et de la cohésion sociale, and honorary member of both the Institut Aspen France and the Club of Rome.

Delors is the father of Socialist politician Martine Aubry.

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