Jacques Delors, the secret of the myth | International

The secret of the myth begins in his gaze. He was born from these deep blue and very clear eyes. Made to excite and rebel at the same time, to outrage and construct, to seduce opponents, to combine incompatible and disparate speeches.

There are almost a hundred years of cleanliness that have built a myth. A European myth unscathed after decades of commitment… and a certain time of silence since the death of his wife and the decline of his own health: like other greats, he chose to maintain his dignity always cared for, without lavish yourself more than before on everything – very comfortable, for the delicacy of not bothering with wrinkles or tremolos. And claiming his steely atavistic will not to disrupt the daily lives of his loved ones; He thus resigned in the face of constant demands from his daughter, Marine Aubry, who insisted on bringing him home, in the north, to Lille.

Just a man, but a myth? This is the case, and the biggest after founding fathers of the European community in the 1950s. Like the Minister of the Economy of the Republic who straightened out the first steps of the atypical left-left government of François Mitterrand, demonstrating that social impulse and economic rigor should not be antithetical bets. But above all as captain of the European Commission which, during the decade 1985-1995, resurrected the community project after long years of European pessimism induced by the energy crises of 1974 and 1979.

This no-nonsense social democratic and Christian leader worked his magic by transforming almost every conundrum that came his way, into a solution that at first seemed impossible. He was at the heart of all the challenges. And he led them with ambition. From the oil crisis to the internal market of 1986, which he called “Europe without borders”, particularly internal ones. From monetary turbulence to the creation of the euro (Maastricht, 1992). From the integration of the less prosperous South – the enlargement of the Mediterranean, with Spain and Portugal – to the doubling of structural funds for cohesion. From European citizenship to the Erasmus program, promoted by the Spaniard Manuel Marín, which surprised him so much. From the still static post-Cold War world to German and continental reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

His achievements are so numerous that the simplest thing is to recount his few setbacks. Like the fight he lost against the Ministers of the Economy defending his visionary white paper Growth, competitiveness, employment (1993), in which he combined trans-European networks, digital revolution, financing by Eurobonds and professional retraining: another rooster would crow for us. Or the meager harvest of their struggle for a social Europe, which has always been crushed before the British neoliberal cliffs. Or its Sisyphean struggle to compensate for budgetary rigor through public investment, education and professional training.

Delors was firm because he maintained his inquisitive gaze, which always seemed to scan the horizon, on solid principles, tested by experience. Because he understood as values ​​that which cannot be bought with money. And what is created, because the future is never hidden, must be pursued. By complicity. His great reference was the very moderate Pierre Mendès-France; but he was a faithful collaborator of a baroque character like Mitterrand. He discussed all the commas with the iron lady Margaret Thatcher, but he associated his Conservative colleague Lord Cockfield in the gigantic enterprise of the Single Act which would enlighten the internal market, according to him, the best treaty. Fervently pro-European, he defended global governance based on the United Nations and the G20. French in one piece, cultivated the greatness small, but also disruptive: he loved the cause of Spain’s return to the country. It coexists with the market which it seeks to correct according to the motto “competition which stimulates, cooperation which strengthens and solidarity which unites”. It was intense, but sober. Like during his goodbyes.

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