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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on former European Commission presidents Franco Malfatti (1970–1972), Gaston Thorn (1981–1985), and Jacques Santer (1995–1999), who are linked by their disappointing presidential performances. Each lacked the drive and ambition associated with holders of high political office. By the standards of other top-level politicians they were relatively laid-back; more Type B than Type A personalities. As Commission presidents, they lacked an intangible though essential attribute of political success: luck. To some extent, a combination of poor judgment, timidity, and misfortune accounts for their poor record in Brussels.

Keywords: European Commission, presidents, presidential performance, Franco Malfatti, Gaston Thorn, Jacques Santer

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