Montesquieu Institute: from science to society

An Impossible Job? Presidents of the European Commission 1958-2014

boekcover 'An Impossible Job'

On behalf of DNPP, Gerrit Voerman and Jan van der Harst, worked on the publication of the Presidents of the European Comission in the period of 1958-2014.

For most of its history, the public figurehead of what is now the European Union has been the President of the European Commission. In this volume, the editors have for the first time assembled a complete collection of specially written concise political biographies of all eleven of the Presidents from Walter Hallstein (1958-1967) to José Manuel Barroso (2004-2014), exploring their successes, failures, impact and legacy. This portfolio of mini-biographies makes fascinating reading in its own right, and to this the editors have added a thematic overview, drawing out the many similarities and contrasts between the Presidents and providing some general conclusions about what one President, Roy Jenkins, termed ‘an impossible job’.

This is a book of relevance to all who are interested in the history of the EU and its institutions and wish to understand how it got to where it is today. And, as the EU confronts immense challenges under the new Commission presidency of Jean-Claude Juncker, it also provides many signposts and pertinent historical analogies for the future.

Table 1. Overview Presidents of the European Commission, 1958-2014

 

Commission

Country of origin

Period

W. Hallstein

Germany

1958-1967

J. Rey

Belgium

1967-1970

F. Malfatti

Italy

1970-1972

S. Mansholt

The Netherlands

1972-1973

F.-X. Ortoli

France

1973-1977

R. Jenkins

United Kingdom

1977-1981

G. Thorn

Luxembourg

1981-1985

J. Delors

France

1985-1995

J. Santer

Luxembourg

1995-1999

R. Prodi

Italy

1999-2004

J.M. Barroso

Portugal

2004-2014

J.C. Juncker

Luxemburg

2014-