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His European career began in 1979 with his election as a Member of the European Parliament. There he was the chairman of its Economic and Monetary Committee until May 1981. From 1981 to 1984, he came back to French political affairs as Ministre de l’Economie et des Finances and as mayor of the town of Clichy, from 1983 to 1984.
From 1985 to 1995, he worked as President of the European Commission, within the European Economic Community (EEC) and then within the European Union (EU). At his instigation, on 14 June 1985, the Commission published the “White Paper”, the aim of which was to urge on the economic recovery, free movement and the establishment of a common market. From 1988 to 1989, he was the chairman of the committee responsible for studying the project of an Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), resulting in the “Delors Report” which would contribute to the establishment of the Maastricht Treaty and of the euro. In 1995, he refused to stand in the French presidential elections whereas some people thought he might win them (France.fr).
From 1993, he was engaged to draft another forecasting report as the chairman of the International Commission on Education and Learning for the Twenty-first Century. The Commission was created by the Director-General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, on the invitation of the General Conference in 1991, for the purpose of bringing together contemporary ideas on education and gathering existing views on how education for the twenty-first century should be considered. It consisted of fifteen members from different career paths. The Commission adopted its final report in January 1996 and published it in April of the same year under the title: Learning: the treasure within. This new UNESCO “Delors Report” proposed an integrated and humanistic vision of education and offered a different approach from the dominant utilitarian, economic tone prevalent at that time, as Marie Cougoureux and Sobhi Tawil explain it in the article of Occasional Papers entitled “Revisiting Learning: the treasure within; assessing the influence of the 1996 Delors Report”. The Report became an international point of reference, especially regarding its definition of the four key pillars of learning: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be (Cougoureux and Tawil). Assuming the importance of lifelong learning, it was also considered to be utopist (Cougoureux and Tawil). Nevertheless it had a practical and decisive influence on the UNESCO program and on the orientation of educative development all around the world. Jacques Delors became the chairman of a team responsible for ensuring the follow-up of the reflections and recommendations expressed by the committee. In this framework, on 8-9 March 1999, a conference on lifelong education took place in Lisbon, organized by UNESCO and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Its proceedings are gathered in the publication: Learning throughout life: challenges for the twenty-first century.
Jacques Delors became President of the Administrative Council of the College of Europe from 1995 to 1999 and founded the European think tank “Notre Europe” in October 1996, led by him until October 2004, when he became its Founding President. With the aim of “Thinking a united Europe” from its very beginning, the association took the name “Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute” in 2012. From 2000 to 2008, he was the Chairman of the Council for Employment, Income and Social Cohesion (CERC – France).
He is also known for his commitment to Christian syndicalism. In particular, he has been a member of the French Confederation of the Christian Workers (CFTC) and of the think tank Vie Nouvelle.
He wrote several books, including: Social Indicators (1971), Change (1975), Get out or not (1985), L’Unité d’un Homme (1994), Mémoires (with Jean-Louis Arnaud – 2004), Investir dans le social (with Michel Dollé – 2009).
Currently he is considered to belong to the second generation of the founding fathers of Europe, those who were at the forefront of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and of the fight for a political union. His views and ideas regarding Europe continue to be disseminated by press. He received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of 29 universities and several prizes and distinctions, among them the Treaties of Nijmegen Medal in March 2010.
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« Biographie de Jacques Delors. » (Sans date). Notre Europe – Institut Jacques Delors. Consulté en ligne le 04/07/2014 : http://www.notre-europe.eu/media/chrono-jd.pdf?pdf=ok
Delors, Jacques. (2004). Où sont les valeurs ? Entretiens du XXIe siècle. Paris, 2004 : http://www.unesco.org/ulis/cgi-bin/ulis.pl?catno=136627&set=53B695AB_0_228&gp=1&mode=e&lin=1&ll=2
Delors, Jacques ; Dollé, Michel. (2009). Investir dans le social. Paris, 2009 : http://www.unesco.org/ulis/cgi-bin/ulis.pl?catno=181297&set=53B695AB_0_228&gp=1&mode=e&lin=1&ll=f
Delors, Jacques ; Wolton, Dominique. (1994) L’Unité d’un homme : entretiens avec Dominique Wolton. Paris, 1994 : http://www.unesco.org/ulis/cgi-bin/ulis.pl?catno=171671&set=53B695AB_0_228&gp=1&mode=e&lin=1&ll=2
« Jacques Delors. » (Sans date). Encyclopédie Larousse en ligne. Consulté en ligne le 04/07/2014 : http://www.larousse.fr/encyclopedie/personnage/Jacques_Delors/116035
« Jacques Delors. » (Sans date). France.fr, Le site officiel de la France. Consulté en ligne le 04/07/2014 : http://www.france.fr/hommes-et-femmes-dexception/jacques-delors-1925.html
« Jacques Delors. » (Sans date). Notre Europe – Institut Jacques Delors. Consulté en ligne le 04/07/2014 : http://www.notre-europe.eu/011016-2033-Jacques-Delors.html
« Jacques Delors. » (14 septembre 2013). Toute l’Europe.eu. Consulté en ligne le 04/07/214 : http://www.touteleurope.eu/l-union-europeenne/histoire-de-l-ue/les-continuateurs/synthese/jacques-delors.html
Tawil, Sobhi ; Cougoureux, Marie. (2013). Revisiting Learning: the treasure within; assessing the influence of the 1996 Delors Report. In Education, research and foresight: occasional papers; 4. Available in UNESDOC, accessed 19/08/2014: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002200/220050e.pdf
UNESCO. (2002). L’éducation tout au long de la vie – défis du vingt et unième siècle, Paris, 2002. Consulté en ligne dans UNESDOC le 04/07/2014 :
UNESCO. (1999). Rapport à l’UNESCO de la Commission internationale sur l’éducation pour le vingt et unième siècle. L’éducation : un trésor est caché dedans. Paris, 1996, 2ème édition 1999. Consulté en ligne dans UNESDOC le 04/07/2014 :
UNESCO. (1996). The UNESCO courier: a window open on the world. Article “Education for tomorrow” by Jacques Delors. Accessed online in UNESDOC 04/07/2014: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001026/102622eo.pdf#102579
UNESCO. (1995). Address by Jacques Delors, Chairperson of the International Commission for the Twenty-first Century, at the twenty-eight session of the General Conference. Accessed online in UNESDOC 04/07/2014: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001018/101826e.pdf
UNESCO. (1993). The Delors Commission: which education for the XXIst century? Paris, 1993: http://www.unesco.org/ulis/cgi-bin/ulis.pl?catno=96588&set=53B695AB_0_228&gp=1&mode=e&lin=1&ll=2
UNESCO. (1992). Address by Jacques Delors, Chairman of the International Commission on Education and Learning for the Twenty-first Century, at the 140th session of the Executive Board. Accessed online in UNESDOC 04/07/2014: