The French economist and political scientist Pascal Lamy (born in Levallois-Perret on 8 April 1947) is regarded as one of the most influential of current French thinkers. Almost every French person knows him from television appearances. He is regularly consulted by important media when it comes to European issues.
Lamy, who in the course of his career in public administration managed to acquire as many as eight honorary doctorates, was for ten years (from 1985 to 1994) chef de cabinet of former EU Commission President Jacques Delors. In that capacity, he came into contact with all important players with regard to European integration.
As chef de cabinet of Delors, Lamy was almost always close to the most powerful man in Europe. He was not only Delors’ most important advisor, he played an active role in all important decisions taken by his countryman. As a result of his sound diplomatic knowledge and, particularly, his knowledge of human nature, he could always supply Delors with the right information. The ‘sherpa’ of Jacques Delors was also involved in Maastricht. He learnt to love the city and has been a regular visitor in the past 25 years. In the accompanying video, he explains how the negotiations progressed at the time.
These days, Pascal Lamy – holder of various high international awards – works at the Institut Jacques Delors in Rue de Milan, an unobtrusive street in the ninth arrondissement in Paris, not far from Boulevard Haussmann, where he holds the position of President Emeritus.
Pascal Lamy studied economics and political science at the prestigious L’École des hautes études commerciales and L’École nationale d’administration. As a young civil servant, he not only advised Jacques Delors, but also former Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy. Delors took him as part of his team to Brussels in 1984 where, because of his rigid management style, he soon became known as ‘the beast of the Berlaymont building’.
In 1994, he entered business for a brief period. As the head of Crédit Lyonnais, which was on the verge of bankruptcy, he was closely involved in the reorganisation and privatisation of France’s most important bank.
However, Brussels continued to exert its pulling power. In 1999, Lamy retuned to Brussels to become European Commissioner for Trade under Romano Prodi. Following his period in office at the European Commission, Lamy became director general of the World Trade Organisation.
Twenty-five years after the Maastricht Treaty, the opinions of the socialist intellectual Lamy still carry weight. They have a major impact on the publications issued by the Institut Jacques Delors. In many cases, these publications are thorough international studies on developments in Europe and the consequences of, for instance, Brexit and the rise of nationalism in various Member States.