Giscard d'Estaing: the political class salutes the president of modernity

In this file photo from May 27, 2005, former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing attends the debate on the new European Constitution in the Upper House of the German Bundesrat in Berlin.

AP - Markus Schreiber

Text by: RFI Follow

6 min

Youngest president of the Fifth Republic when he was elected in 1974, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who died Wednesday at the age of 94, comes from the liberal center-right and Christian Democrat who built the Europe of after war.

Since the announcement of his death this Wednesday evening, tributes have been pouring in welcoming, as if echoing, the “modernizer” of the country he wanted to embody.


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Tributes after the death of

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

came from all sides of the French political class.

Starting with the current head of state who succeeded him ... 36 years later.

In a long obituary,

Emmanuel Macron

salutes the progressive who for seven years, “ 

transformed France

 ”: “ 

His mandate was an intense moment of reforms.

The one we now called VGE or more simply Giscard knew how to modernize the function of Head of State and "look France in the eye".

His seven-year term transformed France.

It allowed young people to vote from the age of 18, women to terminate unwanted pregnancies legally, couples to divorce by mutual consent, and people with disabilities to obtain new rights.

He worked for a stronger Europe, a more united Franco-German couple, and helped stabilize international political and economic life by founding the G7.


The directions he gave to France are still guiding our steps, 

"concludes the president.


Servant of the State, politician of progress and freedom, his death is a mourning for the French nation



Nicolas Sarkozy

, former President of the Republic, expressed his "

 great sadness 

" on Twitter, greeting " 

a man who has done honor to France, a man for whom I have felt admiration and with whom I 've always enjoyed debating



Valéry Giscard d'Estaing will have worked all his life to strengthen ties between European nations, sought and succeeded in modernizing political life and devoted his great intelligence to the analysis of the most complex international issues. 


For another previous tenant of the Élysée,

François Hollande

, “ 

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing will remain the president who modernized France.

Its seven-year term was marked by major reforms such as the civil majority at 18, access to abortion for women, the generalization of social protection.

Resolutely European, he contributed to the strengthening of the Franco-German couple, to the establishment of the Monetary Union and to the opening of the Common Market.

(…) Today, our country is losing a statesman who made the choice of opening up to the world and who believed that Europe was the condition for France to be greater.


Modernity again and again in the mouth of the former head of government,

Jean-Pierre Raffarin


V. Giscard d'Estaing will remain the President of modernity and reform.

He raised our hopes, he created our admiration.

Young people and women have found with him a new place in the Republic.

French Democracy has asserted itself as European ... With a heavy heart!

- Jean-Pierre Raffarin (@jpraffarin) December 2, 2020

The centrist leader

François Bayrou

(president of the MoDem) greeted in Valéry Giscard d'Estaing a president who " 

blew a great wind of modernity on French society

 ", considering that he "

 dominated almost naturally by his presence, his distinction , his language, the vivacity of his intuitions 


The elected representative of Béarn and former Minister of Education took his first steps in politics with him and who was his successor at the head of the centrist UDF party.

On Twitter,

Marine Le Pen

, president of the National Assembly and candidate for the next presidential election, points to a measure from the former president: “

 Condolences to those close to Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.

President of a France in crisis, he was the architect of new public freedoms and an ardent supporter of technological progress.

In 2018, he confessed that his biggest mistake was to introduce family reunification. 


Christian Jacob

, President of the Republicans, for his part pays “ 

tribute to President Giscard d'Estaing who will have undoubtedly left his mark on the Fifth Republic.

He worked with conviction and determination to modernize our society.

Affectionate testimony to Mme Giscard d'Estaing and her children.


Julien Bayou

, national secretary of EELV, also on Twitter, underlines the societal contributions of the 3rd President of the Fifth Republic: “ 

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is dead.

The President of the majority at 18, decriminalization of abortion and divorce by mutual consent.

Thoughts for loved ones. 



The PCF bows with respect and salutes the memory of V. Giscard d'Estaing.

He was a man of conviction who, until the end, including with the Constitutional Treaty, defended an economy and a very liberal Europe

 , ”underlines

Fabien Roussel

, national secretary of the PCF.

Anne Hidalgo

, socialist mayor of Paris “ 

salutes this convinced European who has worked to put our country on the path to progress.

He had Paris in his heart and always had a special interest in it.


Michel Barnier

, EU chief negotiator with the UK on Brexit, on Twitter: 

For Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Europe should be a French ambition and France a modern nation.


- Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) December 2, 2020




To read also: Death of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, 3rd President of the Fifth Republic


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