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PARIS (Reuters) - France's Jacques Delors, the powerful former European Commission chief, said the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union on Friday would encourage countries of the bloc to deepen their cooperation despite crises along the way.
"Europe carries on despite the crises. It's not a long calm river, but it is consolidating," Delors, who during the 1980s helped create the conditions that would lead to a single market trading zone within Europe, told BFMTV.
"I think all the heads of state and populations will take this award as an encouragement. I am very emotional. The last three decades have been very difficult."
Delors, 87, was a fierce defender of European integration and often ran up against heads of governments, including Britain's Margaret Thatcher who vowed to defend British sovereignty against what she saw as incursions from Brussels.
Reporting by Yves Clarisse; writing by Mark John and John Irish