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Pierre Werner and Jacques Santer

Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences 1998

Pierre Werner

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Pierre Werner (Saint-André-lez-Lille, France, 1913 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 2002) was a Luxembourg politician and member of the Christian Social People’s Party. He was Prime Minister of Luxembourg for three terms and a leading figure in the European Union. As Prime Minister, Werner presented a report to the European Council and Commission in 1970 that laid the foundations for the path towards economic and monetary union. The document, known as the Werner Plan, established a union carried out in three stages: irreversible convertibility of the community currencies, centralization of monetary and credit policy, and circulation of a common currency.

During his term of office as Prime Minister of Luxembourg, he assumed the Presidency of the European Council in the second half of 1980, replacing Francesco Cossiga and being succeeded by Dries van Agt.

Jacques Santer

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Jacques Santer (Wasserbillig, Luxembourg, 1937 - ) is a Luxembourg politician who succeeded Frenchman Jacques Delors as President of the European Commission in 1995 and was the predecessor of Manuel Marín, who took office in 1999. A Christian Democrat and moderate Europeanist, he was nominated for the position by German Christian Democrat Helmut Kohl.

He studied Law and Economics at the University of Paris. He held ministerial positions in his country from 1962 as a member of the Luxembourg Social Christian Popular Party, joining the Ministry of Social Security. He became the leader of the party in 1979, the year in which he took over the Finance Portfolio until 1989, first under the presidency of Pierre Werner and from 1984 under his own presidency, as he won the 1984 elections and became Prime Minister. He held office until January 1995, when he was replaced by Jean-Claude Juncker. He was a member of the World Bank between 1984 and 1989 and governor of the International Monetary Fund between 1991 and 1994. He was elected to the European Parliament in 1974, being vice president of this assembly between 1975 and 1977. He left office as Prime Minister of Luxembourg in 1995 and, following his nomination by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, was appointed President of the European Commission, a position he held until 1999. Santer was a Member of the European Parliament between 1999 and 2004.

He received the Grupo Compostela Award in 1997.

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