Who is Who in the “Brussels EU”: The “founding fathers” of the “Brussels EU”

Picture of Walter Hallstein
© European Community, 2006 | | p-002796-01-14 | 01/10/2006


Walter Hallstein
EU Commission President from 1958 to 1967


Walter Hallstein was EU Commission President from 1958 to 1967. Following his career as a prominent law professor under the Nazis, Hallstein became the key architect of the unelected European Commission and its first President. His book, entitled ‘Europe in the Making’, describes how the European Community's machinery was developed in such a way that “the Commission is entrusted with what virtually amounts to a monopoly in taking the initiative in all matters affecting the Community.” Moreover, giving a prophetic hint of what the Lisbon Treaty would effectively be intended to accomplish almost forty years later, he specifically states that the few exceptions to this rule “ought to be removed at the earliest opportunity,” and that “the Commission should eventually be empowered to take all measures necessary for the implementation of the Treaty on its own authority, without having to rely on special and specific approval by the Council of Ministers.”

Hallstein's goals for the “Brussels EU”:
Click here and here to see excerpts from a book written by Walter Hallstein in 1969.


Picture of Guido Colonna di Paliano
© European Community, 2006 | | p-008475-01-15 | 01/10/2006


Guido Colonna di Paliano
EU Commissioner from 1964 to 1970

Member of the Trilateral Commission

Guido Colonna di Paliano was appointed to be EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services in 1964 during the second Hallstein Commission. In 1967 he became EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry. He later became a member of the Trilateral Commission. During the 1930s, Colonna di Paliano had been a vice-consul for Mussolini’s fascist Italy. In their book "Enemies within: Italian and other internees in Canada and abroad”, Franca Iacovetta, Roberto Perin and Angelo Principe describe di Paliano as a “diligent Fascist”.


Picture of Francois-Xavier Ortoli
© European Community, 2006 | | p-002707-01-22 | 01/10/2006


François-Xavier Ortoli
EU Commission President from 1973 to 1977 / EU Commissioner from 1977 to 1984

Head of French petrochemical company Total

François-Xavier Ortoli was president of the EU Commission from 1973 to 1977 and from 1977 to 1984 he was EU Commission for Economic and Financial Affairs. In 1984, directly after his last term as EU Commissioner, he was appointed to be chairman of the French petrochemical company Total. In 1983 he attended the first meeting of the “European Round Table of Industrialists”, an influential interest group in the European Union among high ranking representatives of petrochemical (Shell) and chemical/pharmaceutical (Ciba-Geigy, today Novartis) company and companies of other industrial sectors.


Picture of Etienne Davignon
© European Community, 2006 | | p-004111-03-12 | 01/10/2006


Étienne Davignon
EU Commissioner from 1977 to 1985

Chairman of the Bilderberg Conference and board member of a pharmaceutical company

Étienne Davignon was EU Commissioner for Industrial Markets, Customs Union and Industrial Affairs during the Jenkins Commission from 1977 to 1981 and from 1981 to 1985 he was EU Commissioner for Industrial Affairs and Energy during the Thorn Commission. As Gustav Thorn, he is a member of the Trilateral Commission. From 1989 to 2001 he was chairman of the Belgian company Société Générale de Belgique. In 2005 became chairman of the Rockefeller-financed Bilderberg conference and is on the board of directors of the pharmaceutical company Gilead.


Picture of Gaston Thorn
© European Community, 2006 | | p-004805-03-7 | 01/10/2006


Gaston Thorn
EU Commission President from 1981 to 1985

Chairman of the Trilateral Commission

Gaston Thorn was president of the EU Commission from 1981 to 1985. He was a member of the Rockefeller-financed Trilateral Commission. Preceding his term as EU Commission President, he contributed to an official publication of the Trilateral Commission in 1980.


Picture of Peter Sutherland
© European Community, 2006 | | p-005795-03-1 | 01/10/2006


Peter Sutherland
EU Commissioner from 1985 to 1989

Board member of a petrochemical company

Peter Sutherland joined the EU Commision in 1985 as a Commissioner for Competition Policy. As his term ended, he joined the board of directors of petrochemical company BP. While on the board, he became chairman of a EU Commission Committee on the functioning of the Internal Market in 1992. In 1995 he became director-general of the World Trade Organisation and in 1997 he was appointed to be chairman of the board of directors of BP. In 2007 – at a time, where he still is chairman of the board of BP – he became advisor of EU Commission President Barroso on energy and climate issues. He is on the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group and a chairman of the Rockefeller-financed Trilateral Commission.


Picture of Martin Bangemann
© European Community, 2006 | | p-002653-01-21 | 01/10/2006


Martin Bangemann
EU Commissioner from 1989 to 1999

Conflict of interests

Martin Bangemann was EU Commissioner for Industrial Affairs, Information and Telecommunications Technologies during the Santer Commision. After the collective resignation of the Santer Commission in March 1999 due to the fraud-scandal, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Spanish telecommunication company Telefonica just weeks later. The EU filed a lawsuit in 1999 because of possible conflicts of interests. The lawsuit was later dropped after Bangemann agreed to start working for Telefonica not before 2001.


Picture of Karel van Miert
© European Community, 2006 | | p-002646-02-35 | 01/10/2006


Karel van Miert
EU Commissioner from 1989 to 1999

Board member of pharmaceutical companies

Karel van Miert was EU Commissioner for Transport and Consumer Protection from 1989 to 1992 and EU Commissioner for Competition from 1992 to 1999. Already in 1968 he worked for EU Commission Sicco Mansholt, the latter EU Commission President. After leaving the EU Commission, he became member of the board of director of Belgian pharmaceutical and chemical company Solvay. He also has been on the board of directors of American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. In 2005 he was appointed from the current Barroso Commision to facilitator for the European satellite project “Galileo”.


Picture of Edith Cresson
© European Community, 2006 | | p-000453-03-10 | 01/10/2006


Édith Cresson
EU Commissioner from 1995 to 1999

Fraud and breach of her obligations as a European commissioner

Édith Cresson was one of the EU commissioners working in the fraudulent Santer Commission that was forced to resign in 1999 after a whistle-blower report. Mrs Cresson was accused to have committed serious and repeated fraud, subordination of falsified contract, forging over people’s handwriting and embezzling of EU funds for her personal gain. During her time as a Commissioner she hired one of her close acquaintances, René Berthelot, a dental surgeon, as a highly paid EU adviser on HIV/Aids. Berthelot was later judged to be unqualified, he produced 24 pages of notes of little or no value in over two years of work for Mrs Cresson. In 2006, the European Court of Justice declared that Mrs Cresson acted in breach of her obligations as a European commissioner.


Picture of Frits Bolkestein
© European Community, 2006 | | p-003140-02-35 | 05/10/2006


Frits Bolkestein
EU Commissioner from 1999 to 2004

Worked for petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies

Frits Bolkestein worked for the petrochemical company Royal Dutch Shell from 1960 to 1975. From 1978 to 1999 he was a member of the Dutch parliament. In 1996 he tried to persuade Dutch health minister Els Borst in a personal letter to have a cholesterol-lowering drug taken into services covered by the Dutch medical insurance-companies. The drug was marketed by Merck, Sharp & Dome, were Bolkestein was member of the board of commissioners. For more information on Frits Bolkestein, please click here.