PARIS – France mourned former President Valerie Giscard d’Estaing on Thursday, paying tribute to a statesman who helped modernize the country and develop the European Union.
He died Wednesday night at the age of 94 from complications related to Covid-19, his foundation said.
Mr Giscard d’Estaing steered France through a period of widespread social and economic modernization. During his presidency, from 1974 to 1981, France lowered its voting age to 18, allowed divorce by mutual consent and legalized abortion, a struggle led by his health minister, Simone Vale.
“The guidelines he has set for France are still guiding our steps,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a one-night communiqué ahead of a televised speech scheduled for Thursday night in which he described his predecessor as “a government official, a politician. progress and freedom “, whose death caused”
Mr. Giscard d’Estaing embodies a style of politics that will later shape the thinking of centrist leaders such as Mr. Macron. He is working across borders to develop multilateral institutions that will allow Western allies to coordinate their fight against global crises and work together to shape economic and foreign policy. It deepened France’s alliance with Germany; was the architect of the European Monetary Union, paving the way for the euro; and pastoral annual summits of rich nations, which eventually grew into the Group of Seven.