Two prime ministers of Luxembourg have thus far become presidents of the European Commission: Jacques Santer and Jean-Claude Juncker.
Jacques Santer, a Luxembourgian politician who became the president of the European Commission, was born on this day in 1937. This position is at the top of the hierarchy of the EU institutions. Before he attained the position, Santer had served as the prime minister of Luxembourg for 10-and-a-half years. It is remarkable that Santer was succeeded by Jean-Claude Juncker as Luxembourgian prime minister, who remained at that position for a full 19 years.
Santer was born in the town of Wasserbillig, Luxembourg not long before World War II broke out. He became the prime minister of his country in 1984, at the age of 47. It can look rather unusual that two consecutive presidents of the European Commission originate from Luxembourg, a small country of less than 600,000 people. However, this very fact makes a Luxembourger a more acceptable candidate for the post, since appointing one from the most powerful European countries might be seen as controversial. Tiny Luxembourg had actually been part of the EU and its predecessor organizations from the very beginning.