Author: Jan van der Harst/Gerrit Voerman
Publication Date: 07-May-2015
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.