In the early 1970s, the chief architect of European unification, former French President Valerie Giskard D’Sting, died at the age of 94 after the signing of the Covid-19 agreement.
Giscard, who served as France’s leader from 1974 to 1981, was recently hospitalized with respiratory problems on tours, and was released only to return to the hospital in mid-November.
A statement issued by the foundation said he founded and chaired.
“His condition worsened and he died as a result of Kovid-19,” his family told AFP in a statement.
Foundation Valéry Giscard Destinge tweeted on Wednesday: “According to his wishes, his funeral will take place in a close-knit family.”
He made his last public appearance on September 30 last year for the funeral of another former president, Jack Chirac, who was his prime minister.
Giskard was known for guiding the modernization of French society during his presidency, including allowing for consensual divorce and legalizing abortion.
After 48 years in power, he was elected president in 1948, and sought to liberalize the economy and society. That was it Credited for launching major projects, including France’s high-speed TGV train network.
However, he lost the re-election bid against the socialist Franોois Mitterrand after the 1970 global economic downturn.
In France, Giskard is remembered for his radical reform campaigns, including the legalization of abortion, the liberalization of divorce, and the keeping of the voting age below 18.
Tributes were paid to the political arena in France on Wednesday. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy said Giskard “worked all his life to strengthen relations between European countries”.
“His modern and definite progressive policies … will mark his long legacy,” said Christoph Castner, head of President Emanuel Macron’s ruling party in parliament.
In Europe, he co-operated with his German counterpart, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, with whom he became friends and whose years of leadership were almost sunk with him, helping him move towards a financial union.
Together they launched the European Monetary System (EMS), a precursor to today’s single currency, the euro.
Michelle Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator in the Brexit talks with Britain, said: “For Valerie Giscard’s distilling, Europe needed French ambitions and France a modern nation. Respect.
He was also an ardent Anglophile, a year after Britain joined the European Economic Community.
“Absolute love-hate relations with our country,” former British Prime Minister Dennis McCash said in a tweet in the early 2000s, calling Giskard a “big politician” who would bring about change in Europe.
Giskard’s initiative led to the meeting of the leaders of the world’s richest countries in 1975, an event that developed at the annual summit of the Group of Seven.
With a more relaxed presidential style than its predecessor, “VGE” was sometimes seen in public in football or the accordion. He also hosted the garbage collectors for breakfast and invited them to dine at the homes of ordinary citizens.
Former minister and presidential candidate, fellow centrist Franસ્ટois Byrne, said Giscard was almost naturally dominated by his presence, his differences, his language, his way of life and his intuitions.
Born into a well-to-do French family, Giscard was definitely part of the elite class; He studied from the selected Ecole Polytechnic and National Administration School in France.
At just 18, he joined the French resistance and took part in World War II liberation from the Nazi occupiers of Paris in 1944. He then served eight months in Germany and Austria, fighting in Germany and Rajasthan.
He started his political career in 1959, becoming Finance Minister in 1969.
After his defeat in 1981 – which he said left him with “frustration at unfinished jobs” – he remained active in centrist politics, first gaining a seat in the French Parliament and then serving in the European Parliament.
In 2001, it was chosen by European leaders to advance the work of a constitutional bloc of blues – which was later rejected by French voters. In 2004, after losing his legislative seat, Giskard ended his active political career.
Giscard left France’s oldest surviving leader until the death of his successor Chirac in 2019, following Mitrand’s death in 1996.
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