Compostela-Xunta de Galicia prize
Jacques Santer, I International Compostela-Xunta de Galicia Prize
In 1997, the jury of the International Compostela-Xunta de Galicia Prize, presided over by Manuel Fraga, President of the Galician Regional Government, awarded the first prize to Jacques Santer, at that time, President of the European Commission. Being a graduate in law, arts and Economy, Santer was the First Minister of Luxembourg, Vice-President of the Eurochambre, (1975-1977), Member of the European Parliament during nine years and governor of the International Monetary Fund. He succeeded Jacques Delors in the presidency of the Commission in 1995. In 1999 he resigned together with the twenty members of his government.
Jacques Santer was born in Wasserbilling, in the frontier between Germany and Luxembourg but also very near France on the 18 May 1937. He had to learn, as all Luxembourg children, French and German since primary school. His mother tongue is, however, the letzeburger, a language derived from German but with some French terms. Afterwards, he will broaden his linguistic knowledge by learning English.
He studies law in the University of Strasbourg and finishes his doctorate in Paris, where he also studies Political Sciences. His professional career starts as an assistant at the prestigious lawyer’s office of Tony Biever in Luxembourg. At the same time, he joins the Catholic Youth Movement of his country. His firs political post is that of Parliamentary Secretary of the Social Christian Party. The following year, in Israel, he meets a French woman, a university assistant, Daniele Binot, whom he marries. They have two children, Patric y Jerôme. After his marriage, he begins to work at the Cabinet of the Minister for Labour and Social Security, in 1967. State Secretary for Cultural and Social Issues; General Secretary of the Social Christian Party and afterwards, President of the same party; Member of the European Parliament and Vice-president of the same institution; Minister for Public Finance, Labour and Social Security. In 1984, he takes up the position of Head of the Luxembourg government, a government of coalition of christians, democrats and socialists. He will resign from this post in order to become President of the European executive. While being in this post, he presided two of the European Councils more relevant in the development of the European Union: the approval of the Single European Act and the Treaty of the Union.