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Walter Hallstein

Walter Hallstein was born in Germany in 1901. After presiding over the German delegation that negotiated the Plan Schuman, 1st January 1958 he became the first president of the European Commission. He maintained in that post until 1968.

As president of the European Commission, Hallstein worked towards a rapid realisation of the Common Market. His energetic enthusiasm and his powers of persuasion furthered the cause of integration even beyond the period of his presidency. However, the speed of unification during the so-called Hallstein Period was legendary.

During his mandate, De Gaulle vetoed British accesion to the EEC. In 1965, a proposition of Hallstein, supported by the European Parliament, on the founding of own funds of the Community was also vetoed by the French president. The crisis of the "empty chair" followed. The absence of the French Ministers paralysed the Community. The Luxembourg Compromise put an end to the crisis.

Walter Hallstein died in 1982.

Juan Carlos Ocaña

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