Former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing died in Paris on Wednesday at the age of 94.
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, a former French President who brought France into the modern era and who in the early 1970s had been the key architect of European inclusion, died when he was 94 after the COVID-19 contract.
- At the age of 48 in 1974, he was elected president, defeating François Mitterand.
- Giscard became President at the age of 48, the youngest elected person in the 20th century.
- In 2009, Giscard d’Estaing published the Princess and President’s Romance novel.
- He was the author of several books, as well as a member of the famous Académie française.
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Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, 94, was diagnosed with respiratory failure on November 16 and was being treated in intensive care. He then contracted COVID-19. He was the longest-serving former president of France.
The family stated in the statement sent to the news agency AFP that his funeral is strictly private as per his wishes, adding “his state of health had worsened and he died as a consequence of COVID-19,”
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The long-term political Giscard d’Estaing served under the cabinets of Prime Ministers Jacques Chaban-Delmas and Pierre Messmer, later on under President Charles de Gaulle and President Georges Pompidou as Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs.
In 1974, at the age of 48, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was elected president, narrowly defeating the socialist François Mitterand during a period of cultural modernization and economic upheaval.
He was the Fifth Republic’s youngest president, a record that was set at the age of 39 until President Emmanuel Macron elected in 2017.
He pushed the country towards relying on nuclear energy as its main source of energy. He is also credited with approving the development of TGV, the country’s high-speed rail service, in the 1970s.
From 1974 to 1981 Giscard, France’s leader was elected president at the age of 48 – the youngest elected in the 20th century – and embarked on a radical reform effort, including abortion legalisation, divorce liberalization and reducing the voting age to 18.
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In Europe, in close cooperation with German Chancellor Schmidt, he helped to lead the way towards a monetary union, and later both men became good friends.
The European Monetary System (EMS), a forerunner in the current single currency, was launched jointly. It’s the Euro.
After his presidency, Valery Giscard d’Estaing continued to work in politics, focusing more on the international arena and strengthening ties between European countries.
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He was elected to the French National Assembly in 1984 and was re-elected in 1993 and 1997.
Valery Giscard d’Estaing was elected Vice President of the European Parliament in 1989 and served until 1993.
Giscard d’Estaing was appointed Chairman of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions in October 1997 and re-elected in 2001.
Giscard d’Estaing was elected president of the European Cities and Regions Council in October 1997 and was re-elected in 2001.
In December 2001, the Council of Europe appointed him President of the Conference on the Future of Europe, intending to draft a draft constitution for the European Union, which ultimately failed.
He has written many books including his memoirs and a member of the prestigious Académie Française, which sets French-language rules & standards.
In 2009 Valery Giscard d’Estaing published a romantic novel entitled The Princess and the President, which some say refers to his relationship with Britain’s Princess Diana.