Former French President Valerie Giscard d’Estaing has died at the age of 94 after being infected with a coronavirus.
Giscard was admitted to hospital in September with respiratory problems before being re-hospitalized in November. He died at his home after suffering complications related to the virus, Reuters reports.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to Giscard, saying he had “worked all his life to strengthen relations between European nations”.
Former French President Valerie Giscard d̵7;Estaing was the architect of EU integration https://t.co/z4bdRu7BdC pic.twitter.com/VNKewBRdEA
– Reuters (@Reuters) December 2, 2020
Giscard led France from 1974 to 1981 and was credited with modernizing the country, allowing divorce by mutual consent and legalizing abortion, Reuters reported. He was the first president to be elected after the extended term of Charles de Gaulle.
During his presidency, Giscard sought to liberalize France’s social attitudes and economy, according to Reuters. He was responsible for major projects such as the TGV high-speed train network in France.
His term ended in the 1970s, when he lost his re-election candidacy to Francois Mitterrand in the midst of the economic downturn.
Reuters says he played a key role in creating a single currency, the euro, by helping create the European Monetary System with then-West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
“An exceptional political life. I loved talking to him. A complete connection between love and hate with our country. Macron is his successor in so many ways. A great politician who changed Europe but could not change France, “wrote Dennis McShane, a former member of the British Parliament.
Valerie Giscard d’Estaing died at the age of 94. An exceptional political life. I loved talking to him. A complete connection between love and hate with our country. Macron is his successor in so many ways. A great politician who changed Europe but could not change France @ChassNews @StigAbell @NickFerrariLBC
– Dennis McShane (@DenisMacShane) December 2, 2020