Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

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Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valery Giscard d'Estaing 1978.jpg
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1978
President of France
In office
27 May 1974 21 May 1981
Prime Minister Jacques Chirac
Raymond Barre
Preceded by Georges Pompidou
Succeeded by François Mitterrand
President of the Regional Council
of Auvergne
In office
21 March 1986 2 April 2004
Preceded byMaurice Pourchon
Succeeded byPierre-Joël Bonté
Minister of the Economy and Finance
In office
20 June 1969 27 May 1974
Prime Minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Pierre Messmer
Preceded by François-Xavier Ortoli
Succeeded by Jean-Pierre Fourcade
In office
18 January 1962 8 January 1966
Prime Minister Michel Debré
Georges Pompidou
Preceded byWilfrid Baumgartner
Succeeded by Michel Debré
Mayor of Chamalières
In office
15 September 1967 19 May 1974
Preceded byPierre Chatrousse
Succeeded byClaude Wolff
Personal details
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing

(1926-02-02) 2 February 1926 (age 93)
Koblenz, French-occupied Germany
Political party CNIP (1956–1962)
FNRI (1966–1977)
PR (1977–1995)
UDF (1978–2002)
PPDF (1995–1997)
DL (1997–1998)
UMP (2002–2004)
Children4, including Henri and Louis
Alma mater École Polytechnique
École nationale d'administration
Signature Valery Giscard d'Estaing signature.svg
Military career
AllegianceFlag of Free France (1940-1944).svg  Free France
Service/branchFlag of France.svg  French Army
Years of service1944–1945
Battles/wars Second World War
Awards Croix de guerre

Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing ( UK: /ˌʒskɑːrdɛˈstæ̃/ , [1] US: /ʒɪˌskɑːr-/ , [2] [3] French:  [valeʁi ʒiskaʁ destɛ̃] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); born 2 February 1926), also known as Giscard or VGE, is a French elder statesman who served as President of France from 1974 to 1981.

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.

President of France head of state of France

The President of France, officially the President of the French Republic, is the executive head of state of France in the French Fifth Republic. In French terms, the presidency is the supreme magistracy of the country.


As Minister of Finance under prime ministers Jacques Chaban-Delmas and Pierre Messmer, he won the presidential election of 1974 with 50.8% of the vote against François Mitterrand of the Socialist Party. His tenure was marked by a more liberal attitude on social issues—such as divorce, contraception and abortion—and attempts to modernise the country and the office of the presidency, notably launching such far-reaching infrastructure projects as the TGV and the turn towards reliance on nuclear power as France's main energy source. However, his popularity suffered from the economic downturn that followed the 1973 energy crisis, marking the end of the "thirty glorious years" after World War II. Giscard d'Estaing faced political opposition from both sides of the spectrum: from the newly unified left of François Mitterrand and a rising Jacques Chirac, who resurrected Gaullism on a right-wing opposition line. In 1981, despite a high approval rating, he missed out on reelection in a runoff against Mitterrand, with 48.2% of the vote.

Jacques Chaban-Delmas French Gaullist politician

Jacques Chaban-Delmas was a French Gaullist politician. He served as Prime Minister under Georges Pompidou from 1969 to 1972. He was the Mayor of Bordeaux from 1947 to 1995 and a deputy for the Gironde département.

Pierre Messmer French politician

Pierre Joseph Auguste Messmer was a French Gaullist politician. He served as Minister of Armies under Charles de Gaulle from 1960 to 1969 – the longest serving since Étienne François, duc de Choiseul under Louis XV – and then as Prime Minister under Georges Pompidou from 1972 to 1974. A member of the French Foreign Legion, he was considered as one of the historical Gaullists, and died aged 91 in the military hospital of the Val-de-Grâce in August 2007. He was elected a member of the Académie française in 1999.

1974 French presidential election

Presidential elections were held in France in 1974, following the death of President Georges Pompidou. They went to a second round, and were won by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing by a margin of 1.6%. It is to date the closest presidential election in French history.

As a former President of France, he is a member of the Constitutional Council. He also served as President of the Regional Council of Auvergne from 1986 to 2004. Involved with the European Union, he notably presided over the Convention on the Future of Europe that drafted the ill-fated Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. In 2003, he was elected to the Académie française, taking the seat that his friend and former President of Senegal Léopold Sédar Senghor had held. At age 93, Giscard is the longest-lived French President in history.

Constitutional Council (France) National constitutional ruling body of France

The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958 to ensure that constitutional principles and rules are upheld. It is housed in the Palais-Royal, Paris.

President of the Regional Council (France) Wikimedia list article

The President of the Regional Council is the elected official who heads the regional council of a region of France, a state-level territory.

European Union Economic and political union of European states

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.


Valéry Marie René Giscard d'Estaing was born on 2 February 1926 in Koblenz, Germany, during the French occupation of the Rhineland. [4] He is the elder son of Jean Edmond Lucien Giscard d'Estaing (29 March 1894 – 3 August 1982), a high-ranking civil servant, and his wife, Marthe Clémence Jacqueline Marie (May) Bardoux (6 May 1901 – 13 March 2003).

Koblenz Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Koblenz, spelled Coblenz before 1926, is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine where it is joined by the Moselle.

Weimar Republic Germany state in the years 1918/1919–1933

The Weimar Republic is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although commonly translated as ’German Empire’, the word Reich here better translates as ’realm’, in that the term does not have monarchical connotations in itself. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany.

Occupation of the Rhineland military occupation of the left bank of the Rhine river by the victorious powers of World War I

The Occupation of the Rhineland from 1 December 1918 until 30 June 1930 was a consequence of the collapse of the Imperial German Army in 1918. Despite Germany proving victorious on the eastern front following the Russian Revolution, the military high command had failed to prevent the continuing erosion of morale, both domestically and in the army. Despite transferring veteran troops from the eastern front to fight on the western front, the spring offensive was a failure and following the outbreak of the German Revolution the Germany's provisional government was obliged to agree to the terms of the 1918 armistice. This included accepting that the troops of the victorious powers occupied the left bank of the Rhine and four right bank "bridgeheads" with a 30 kilometres (19 mi) radius around Cologne, Koblenz, Mainz and a 10 kilometres (6 mi) radius around Kehl. Furthermore, the left bank of the Rhine and a 50 kilometres (31 mi)-wide strip east of the Rhine was declared a demilitarized zone. The Treaty of Versailles repeated these provisions, but limited the presence of the foreign troops to fifteen years after the signing of the treaty. The purpose of the occupation was on the one hand to give France security against a renewed German attack, and on the other to serve as a guarantee for reparations obligations. After this was apparently achieved with the Young Plan, the occupation of the Rhineland was prematurely ended on 30 June 1930. The administration of occupied Rhineland was under the jurisdiction of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission with its seat at the Upper Presidium of the Rhine Province in Koblenz.

His mother was a daughter of senator and academic Achille Octave Marie Jacques Bardoux, making her a great-granddaughter of minister of state education Agénor Bardoux. She was also, through her own mother, a granddaughter of historian Georges Picot, a niece of diplomat François Georges-Picot, and a great-great-great-granddaughter of King Louis XV of France by one of his mistresses, Catherine Eléonore Bernard (1740–1769), through her great-grandfather Marthe Camille Bachasson, Count of Montalivet, by whom Giscard d'Estaing was a multiple descendant of Charlemagne.

Jacques Bardoux was a French politician.

Agénor Bardoux French politician

Agénor Bardoux was a French statesman and republican, son of Jacques Bardoux and wife Thérèse Pignet.

Georges Picot French historian and lawyer

Georges Marie René Picot was a French lawyer and historian.

Giscard had an older sister, Sylvie (1924–2008). He has a younger brother, Olivier (born 1927), as well as two younger sisters: Isabelle (born 1935) and Marie-Laure (born 1939). Despite the addition of "d'Estaing" to the family name by his grandfather, Giscard is not descended from the extinct noble family of Vice-Admiral d'Estaing, that name being adopted by his grandfather in 1922 by reason of a distant connection to another branch of that family, [5] from which they were descended with two breaks in the male line from an illegitimate line of the Viscounts d'Estaing.

Olivier Giscard dEstaing French politician

Olivier Giscard d'Estaing is chairman of the Committee for a World Parliament. The brother of former president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, he is the Founding Dean and Director General of the INSEAD business school and Governor of the Atlantic Institute.

He joined the French Resistance and participated in the Liberation of Paris; during the liberation he was tasked with protecting Alexandre Parodi. He then joined the French First Army and served until the end of the war. He was later awarded the Croix de guerre for his military service.

In 1948, he spent a year in Montreal, Canada, where he worked as a teacher at Collège Stanislas. [6]

He studied at Lycée Blaise-Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, École Gerson and Lycées Janson-de-Sailly and Louis-le-Grand in Paris. He graduated from the École polytechnique and the École nationale d'administration (1949–1951) and chose to enter the prestigious Inspection des finances. He acceded to the Tax and Revenue Service, then joined the staff of Prime Minister Edgar Faure (1955–1956). He is fluent in German. [7]

Early political career

First offices: 1956–1962

In 1956, he was elected to Parliament as a deputy for the Puy-de-Dôme département, in the domain of his maternal family. He joined the National Centre of Independents and Peasants (CNIP), a conservative grouping. After the proclamation of the Fifth Republic, the CNIP leader Antoine Pinay became Minister of Economy and Finance and chose him as Secretary of State for Finances from 1959 to 1962.

Member of the Gaullist majority: 1962–1974

Giscard with US President John F. Kennedy at the White House, in Washington, D.C., 1962 Meeting with Finance Minister of France. Giscard D'Estaing, President Kennedy. White House, Oval Office. - NARA - 194179.tif
Giscard with US President John F. Kennedy at the White House, in Washington, D.C., 1962

In 1962, while Giscard had been nominated Minister of Economy and Finance, his party broke with the Gaullists and left the majority coalition. The CNIP reproached President Charles de Gaulle for his euroscepticism. But Giscard refused to resign and founded the Independent Republicans (RI), which became the junior partner of the Gaullists in the "presidential majority".

However, in 1966, he was dismissed from the cabinet. He transformed the RI into a political party, the National Federation of the Independent Republicans (FNRI), and founded the Perspectives and Realities Clubs. He did not leave the majority, but became more critical. In this, he criticised the "solitary practice of the power" and summarised his position towards De Gaulle's policy by a "yes, but ...". As chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Finances, he harassed his successor in the cabinet.

For that reason the Gaullists refused to re-elect him to that position after the 1968 legislative election. In 1969, unlike most of FNRI's elected officials, Giscard advocated a "no" vote in the constitutional referendum concerning the regions and the Senate, while De Gaulle had announced his intention to resign if the "no" won. The Gaullists accused him of being largely responsible for De Gaulle's departure.

During the 1969 presidential campaign he supported the winning candidate Georges Pompidou, after which he returned to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. On the French political scene, he appeared as a young brilliant politician, and a preeminent expert in economic issues. He was representative of a new generation of politicians emerging from the senior civil service, seen as "technocrats".

Presidential election victory

In 1974, after the sudden death of President Pompidou, Giscard announced his candidacy for the presidency. His two main challengers were François Mitterrand for the left and Jacques Chaban-Delmas, a former Gaullist Prime Minister. Supported by his FNRI party, he obtained the rallying of the centrist Reforming Movement. Moreover, he benefited from the divisions in the Gaullist party. Jacques Chirac and other Gaullist personalities published the "Call of the 43" where they explained that Giscard was the best candidate to prevent the election of Mitterrand. In the election, Giscard finished well ahead of Chaban-Delmas in the first round, though coming second to Mitterrand. In the run-off on 20 May, however, Giscard narrowly defeated Mitterrand, receiving 50.7% of the vote. [8]

President of France

Domestic policy

Valery Giscard d'Estaing meeting with President of West Germany Walter Scheel in 1975 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F045405-0021, Frankreich, Staatsbesuch Bundesprasident Scheel.jpg
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing meeting with President of West Germany Walter Scheel in 1975

Giscard was finally elected President of France, defeating Socialist candidate François Mitterrand by 425,000 votes—still the closest election in French history. At 48, he was the third youngest president in French history at the time, after Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte and Jean Casimir-Perier. He promised "change in continuity". He made clear his desire to introduce various reforms and modernise French society, which was an important part of his presidency. He for instance reduced from 21 to 18 the age of majority and pushed for the development of the TGV high speed train network and the Minitel, a precursor of the Internet. [9] He promoted nuclear power, as a way to assert French independence. In 1975 he invited the heads of government from West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States to a summit in Rambouillet, to form the Group of Six major economic powers (now the G7, including Canada). Economically, Giscard's presidency saw a steady rise in personal incomes, with the buying power of workers going up by 29% and old age pensioners by 65%. [10]

Giscard billed himself as "a conservative who likes change," and initially tried to project a less monarchical image than had been the case for past French presidents. He wore an ordinary business suit to his inauguration and eschewed the traditional motorcade down the Champs-Elysées in favour of strolling down the street. He took a ride on the Métro, ate monthly dinners with ordinary Frenchmen, and even invited garbage men from Paris to have breakfast with him in the Élysée Palace. However, when he learned that most Frenchmen were somewhat cool to this display of informality, Giscard became so aloof and distant that his opponents frequently attacked him as being too far removed from ordinary citizens. [11]

In home policy, the president's reforms worried the conservative electorate and the Gaullist party, especially the law by Simone Veil legalising abortion. Although he said he had "deep aversion against capital punishment", Giscard claimed in his 1974 campaign that he would apply the death penalty to people committing the most heinous crimes. [12] He did not commute three of the death sentences that he had to decide upon during his presidency (although he did so in several other occasions), keeping France as the last country in the European Union to apply the death penalty. These executions would be the last ever in France and, had executions not resumed in the United States, the last in the Western world, as was the case until 1979 when John Spenkelink was executed by Florida. Death sentences were continually handed out in France for the remaining four years of Giscard's term but were all commuted in 1981, when capital punishment was abolished.

A rivalry arose with his Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, who resigned in 1976. Raymond Barre, called the "best economist in France" at the time, succeeded him. He led a policy of strictness in a context of economic crisis ("Plan Barre").

Unexpectedly, the right-wing coalition won the 1978 legislative election. Nevertheless, relations with Chirac, who had founded the Rally for the Republic (RPR), became more tense. Giscard reacted by founding a centre-right confederation, the Union for French Democracy (UDF).

Foreign policy

Valery Giscard d'Estaing with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran in 1975 Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in france.jpg
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran in 1975

In 1975 Giscard pressured the future King of Spain Juan Carlos I to leave Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet out of his coronation by stating that if Pinochet attended he would not. Having been told by Juan Carlos I not to attend the coronation, Pinochet left Spain having only attended the funeral of Francisco Franco during his visit. [13] Although France received many Chilean political refugees, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's government secretly collaborated with Pinochet's and Videla's junta as shown by journalist Marie-Monique Robin. [14]


Giscard continued de Gaulle's African policy. It was supported with French military units, and a large naval presence in the Indian Ocean. Over 260,000 Frenchmen worked in Africa, focused especially on delivering oil supplies. There was some effort to build up oil refineries and aluminum smelters, but little effort to develop small-scale local industry, which the French wanted to monopolize for the mainland. Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Cameroon were the largest and most reliable African allies, and received most of the investments. [15] In 1977, in the Opération Lamantin, he ordered fighter jets to deploy in Mauritania and suppress the Polisario guerrillas fighting against Mauritania, However the French-installed Mauritanian leader Moktar Ould Daddah was overthrown by his own army some time later, and a peace agreement was signed with the Sahrawi movement.

Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 1979 with Helmut Schmidt, Jimmy Carter and James Callaghan in Guadeloupe Carter guadeloupe.gif
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1979 with Helmut Schmidt, Jimmy Carter and James Callaghan in Guadeloupe

Most controversial was his involvement with the regime of Jean-Bédel Bokassa in the Central African Republic. Giscard was initially a friend of Bokassa, and supplied the regime. However, the growing unpopularity of that government led Giscard to begin distancing himself from Bokassa. In 1979, French troops helped drive Bokassa out of power and restore former president David Dacko. [16] This action was also controversial, particularly since Dacko was Bokassa's cousin and had appointed Bokassa as head of the military, and unrest continued in the Central African Republic leading to Dacko being overthrown in another coup in 1981.

1981 presidential election

In the 1981 presidential election, Giscard took a severe blow to his support when Chirac ran against him in the first round. Chirac finished third and refused to recommend that his supporters back Giscard in the runoff, though he declared that he himself would vote for Giscard. Giscard lost to Mitterrand by 3 points in the runoff, [17] and since then has blamed Chirac for his defeat. [18] To this day, it is widely said that Giscard loathes Chirac. Certainly on many occasions Giscard has criticised Chirac's policies despite supporting Chirac's governing coalition.


Return to politics: 1984–2004

Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 1986 Valery Giscard d'Estaing05b.jpg
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1986

After his defeat, Giscard retired temporarily from politics. In 1984, he regained his seat in Parliament and won the presidency of the regional council of Auvergne. In this position, he tried to encourage tourism to the région, founding the "European Centre of Volcanology" and theme park Vulcania. He was President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions from 1997 to 2004.

In 1982, along with his friend Gerald Ford, he co-founded the annual AEI World Forum. He took part, with a prominent role, in the annual Bilderberg private conference. He has also served on the Trilateral Commission after being president, writing papers with Henry Kissinger.

He hoped to become Prime Minister of France during the first "cohabitation" (1986–88) or after the re-election of Mitterrand with the theme of "France united", but he was not chosen for this position. During the 1988 presidential campaign, he refused to choose publicly between the two right-wing candidates, his two former Prime Ministers Jacques Chirac and Raymond Barre. This attitude was interpreted as indicating that he wanted to regain the UDF leadership.

Indeed, he served as President of the UDF from 1988 to 1996, but he was faced with the rise of a new generation of politicians called the "renovationmen". Most of the UDF politicians supported the candidacy of the RPR Prime Minister Édouard Balladur at the 1995 presidential election, but Giscard supported his old rival Jacques Chirac, who won the election. That same year Giscard suffered a setback when he lost a close election for the mayoralty of Clermont-Ferrand. [19]

In 2000, he made a parliamentary proposal to reduce the length of a presidential term from 7 to 5 years. President Chirac held a referendum on this issue, and the "yes" side won. He did not run for a new parliamentary term in 2002. His son Louis Giscard d'Estaing was elected in his constituency.

Retired from politics: 2004–present

Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 2014 MSC 2014 GiscardDEstaing Kleinschmidt MSC2014.jpg
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 2014

In 2003, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was admitted to the Académie française. [20]

Following his narrow defeat in the regional elections of March 2004, marked by the victory of the left wing in 21 of 22 regions, he decided to leave partisan politics and to take his seat on the Constitutional Council as a former president of the Republic. [21] Some of his actions there, such as his campaign in favour of the Treaty establishing the European Constitution, were criticised as unbecoming to a member of this council, which should embody nonpartisanship and should not appear to favour one political option over the other. Indeed, the question of the membership of former presidents in the Council was raised at this point, with some suggesting that it should be replaced by a life membership in the Senate. [22] [23]

Since then, Giscard has occasionally expressed opinions about current affairs. On 19 April 2007, he endorsed Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidential election. He has supported the creation of the centrist Union of Democrats and Independents in 2012 and the introduction of same-sex marriage in France in 2013. In 2016, he supported former Prime minister François Fillon in The Republicans presidential primaries

A 2014 poll suggested that 64% of the French thought he had been a good president. He is considered to be an honest and competent politician, but also to be a distant man. [24]

On 21 January 2017, with a lifespan of 33,226 days, he surpassed Émile Loubet (1838–1929) in terms of longevity, and is now the oldest former president in French history.

European activities

Valery Giscard d'Estaing in the Council of europe (2011). VGE au conseil de l'europe.png
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in the Council of europe (2011).
Valery Giscard d'Estaing at Helmut Schmidt's funeral (2015). WDK 6198 28.JPG
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing at Helmut Schmidt's funeral (2015).

Giscard has, throughout his political career, always been a proponent of greater European union. In 1978, he was for this reason the obvious target of Jacques Chirac's Call of Cochin, denouncing the "party of the foreigners". [25]

From 1989 to 1993, Giscard served as a member of the European Parliament. From 1989 to 1991, he was also chairman of the Liberal and Democratic Reformist Group. [26]

From 2001 to 2004 he served as President of the Convention on the Future of Europe. On 29 October 2004, the European heads of state, gathered in Rome, approved and signed the European Constitution based on a draft strongly influenced by Giscard's work at the Convention. [27]

Although the Constitution was rejected by French voters in May 2005, Giscard continued to actively lobby for its passage in other European Union states. Giscard d'Estaing attracted international attention at the time of the June 2008 Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty. In an article for Le Monde [28] in June 2007, he said that "public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals we dare not present to them directly". Although the quote is accurate, it was part of a critique, taken out of context, of a suggestion made by some unnamed persons. In the next paragraph Giscard goes on to reject the idea of this course of action by saying, "This approach of 'divide and ratify' is clearly unacceptable. Perhaps it is a good exercise in presentation. But it would confirm to European citizens the notion that European construction is a procedure organised behind their backs by lawyers and diplomats." In the following paragraphs he goes on to appeal for an "honest treaty" and "total transparency" to allow citizens to hear the debate for themselves.

Since 2008 he has been the Honorary President of the Permanent Platform of Atomium Culture, an innovative structure composed of some of the most authoritative universities, newspapers and businesses in Europe for the selection, exchange and dissemination of the most innovative European research, to increase the movement of knowledge across borders, across sectors and to the public at large. [29]

On 27 November 2009, Giscard publicly launched the Permanent Platform of Atomium Culture during its first conference, held at the European Parliament, [30] declaring: "European intelligence could be at the very root of the identity of the European people." [31] A few days before he had signed, together with the President of Atomium Culture Michelangelo Baracchi Bonvicini, the European Manifesto of Atomium Culture.[ citation needed ]

Political career

President of the French Republic: 1974–1981.

Member of the Constitutional Council of France: Since 1981.

Governmental functions

Secretary of State for Finances: 1959–1962.

Minister of Finances and Economic Affairs: 1962–1966.

Minister of Economy and Finances: 1969–1974.

Minister of State, minister of Economy and Finances: March–May 1974 (Resignation, became President of the French Republic in 1974)

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament: 1989–1993 (Reelected member of the National Assembly of France in 1993).

National Assembly of France

Member of the National Assembly of France for Puy-de-Dôme: 1956–1959 (Became minister in 1959) / Reelected in 1962, but he stays minister / 1967–1969 (Became minister in 1969) / Reelected in 1973, but he stays minister / 1984–1989 (Became member of European Parliament in 1989) / 1993–2002. Elected in 1956, re-elected in 1958, 1962, 1967, 1968, 1973.

Regional Council

President of the Regional Council of Auvergne: 1986–2004. Reelected in 1992, 1998.

Regional councillor of Auvergne: 1986–2004. Reelected in 1992, 1998.

General Council

General councillor of Puy-de-Dôme: 1958–1974 (Resignation, became President of the French Republic in 1974) / 1982–1988 (Resignation). Reelected in 1964, 1970, 1982.

Municipal Council

Mayor of Chamalières: 1967–1974 (Resignation, Became President of the French Republic in 1974). Reelected in 1971.

Municipal councillor of Chamalières: 1967–1977. Reelected in 1971.

Political functions

President of the National Federation of the Independent Republicans (Independent Republicans): 1966–1974 (Became President of the French Republic in 1974).

President of the Union for French Democracy: 1988–1996.

Personal life

Giscard's name is often shortened to "VGE" by the French media. A less flattering nickname is l'Ex (the Ex), used mostly by the weekly satirical newspaper Le Canard enchaîné .


On 17 December 1952, Giscard married his cousin Anne-Aymone Sauvage de Brantes, a daughter of Count François Sauvage de Brantes, who had died in a concentration camp in 1944, and his wife, the former Princess Aymone de Faucigny-Lucinge. Their children are: Valérie-Anne (1953–), Henri (Edmond Marie Valéry), Louis (Joachim Marie François) and Jacinte (Marguerite Marie) (1960–2018). Louis was a French conservative Representative; Henri is the president of the tourism company Club Méditerranée.

Giscard's private life was the source of many rumours at both national and international level. His family did not live in the presidential Élysée Palace, and The Independent reported on his affairs with women. [32] In 1974, Le Monde reported that he used to leave a sealed letter stating his whereabouts in case of emergency. [33]

He is an uncle of artist Aurore Giscard d'Estaing, who was formerly married to American actor Timothy Hutton.

Possession of the Estaing castle

In 2005 he and his brother bought the castle of Estaing, a famous place in the French district of Aveyron and formerly a possession of the above-mentioned admiral d'Estaing who was beheaded in 1794. The castle is not used as a residence but it has symbolic value. The two brothers explained that the purchase, supported by the local municipality, was an act of patronage. However, a number of major newspapers in several countries questioned their motives and some hinted at self-appointed nobility and a usurped historical identity. [34]

Questions about his 2009 novel

Giscard wrote his second romantic novel, published on 1 October 2009 in France, entitled The Princess and The President. It tells the story of a French head of state having a romantic liaison with a character called Patricia, Princess of Cardiff. This fuelled rumours that the piece of fiction was based on a real-life liaison between Giscard and Diana, Princess of Wales. [35] He later stressed that the story was entirely made up and no such affair had happened. [36]


National honours

European honours

In 2003 he received the Charlemagne Award of the German city of Aachen. He is also a Knight of Malta.

He travels the world giving speeches on the European Union. During a visit to Ireland, d'Estaing was made an Honorary Patron of the University Philosophical Society, Trinity College, Dublin.

Foreign honours

As Minister of Finance

As President of France

Giscard d'Estaing's coat of arms with the Seraphim Collar Armes Valery Giscard d'Estaing (Ordre du Seraphin).svg
Giscard d'Estaing's coat of arms with the Seraphim Collar

Other honours


President Giscard d'Estaing was granted a coat of arms by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark upon his appointment to the Order of the Elephant, which was recognised by King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden (Photo), for his installation as a Knight of the Seraphim. [45]

See also

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  1. "Giscard d'Estaing, Valéry". Oxford Dictionaries . Oxford University Press . Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  2. "Giscard d'Estaing". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  3. "Giscard d'Estaing". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  4. Profile of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
  5. See French Wikipedia
  6. Mon tour de jardin, Robert Prévost, p. 96, Septentrion 2002
  7. "Valéry Giscard d'Estaing: "In Wahrheit ist die Bedrohung heute nicht so groß wie damals"". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 15 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  8. Lewis, Flora (20 May 1974). "France Elects Giscard President For 7 Years After A Close Contest; Left Turned Back". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2020.Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. "History of the Minitel". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  10. D. L. Hanley, Miss A P Kerr, N. H. Waites (17 August 2005). Contemporary France: Politics and Society Since 1945. ISBN   9781134974238 . Retrieved 20 November 2016 via Google Books.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  11. Thompson, Wayne C. (2013). The World Today 2013: Western Europe. Lanham, Maryland: Stryker-Post Publications. ISBN   978-1-4758-0505-5.
  12. "Ocala Star-Banner – Google News Archive Search".
  13. Cedéo Alvarado, Ernesto (4 February 2008). "Rey Juan Carlos abochornó a Pinochet". Panamá América. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  14. Conclusion of Marie-Monique Robin's Escadrons de la mort, l'école française(in French)/ Watch here film documentary (French, English, Spanish)
  15. John R. Frears, France in the Giscard Presidency (1981) pp 109-127.
  16. Bradshaw, Richard; Fandos-Rius, Juan (27 May 2016). Historical Dictionary of the Central African Republic. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN   9780810879928.
  17. "Valery Giscard d'Estaing | president of France". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  18. Eder, Richard; Times, Special to the New York (11 May 1981). "MITTERRAND BEATS GISCARD; SOCIALIST VICTORY REVERSES TREND OF 23 YEARS IN FRANCE". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  19. "L'UMP tente un nouvel assaut en Auvergne". Le Figaro. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  20. "VGE devient Immortel". Le Nouvel Observateur. 17 December 2003. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  21. VGE page on Oxford Reference.
  22. "La Chiraquie veut protéger son chef quand il quittera l'Elysée", Libération , 14 January 2005
  23. See also the constitutional amendment proposals by senator Patrice Gélard
  24. "Fichier BVA pour Le Parisien" (PDF). Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  25. "Le "parti de l'étranger" et "le bruit et l'odeur", les précédents dérapages de Jacques Chirac". 20 Minutes. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  26. "List of all current and former Members". European Parliament. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  27. Sabine Verhest (17 June 2003). "Valéry Giscard d'Estaing l'Européen". La Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  28. ""Le Traité simplifié, oui, mutilé, non", par Valéry Giscard d'Estaing". Le Monde. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  29. [ dead link ]
  30. "The Honorary President of Atomium Culture Valéry Giscard d'Estaing speaks at the public launch and first conference, Atomium Culture". Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  31. Von Joachim Müller-Jung (27 November 2009). "Atomium Culture: Bienenstock der Intelligenz – Atomium Culture – Wissen". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  32. Lichfield, John (3 February 1998). "French get peek at all the presidents' women". The Independent. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  33. "Hemeroteca La Vanguardia, November 30th 1974 (Spanish)".
  34. Le Monde 24 December 04, AFP Toulouse 23 December 04, Le Figaro 22 January 05, Neue Zürcher Zeitung 15 February 05, The Sunday Times 16 January 05
  35. "Giscard hints at affair with Diana". Connexion. 21 September 2009. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  36. "Giscard: I made up Diana love story". Connexion. 24 September 2009. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  37. 1 2 3 Académie française, Valéry GISCARD d’ESTAING
  38. Italian Presidency Website, GISCARD D'ESTAING S.E. Valery, "Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana", when Minister of Economy and Finance
  39. "Viagem do PR Geisel à França" (PDF). Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  40., Ordensdetaljer, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing Archived 17 December 2012 at , Hans Excellence, fhv. præsident for Republikken Frankrig
  41. Coat of arms in the chapel of Frederiksborg Castle
  42. 1 2 Portuguese Presidency Website, Orders search form  : type "ESTAING Valéry Giscard" in "nome", then click "Pesquisar"
  43. Spanish Official Gazette
  44. Spanish Official Gazette
  45. 1 2 Heraldry Archived 12 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine of the Order of the Seraphim

Further reading

National Assembly of France
Preceded by
Proportional representation
New constituency
Member for Puy-de-Dôme
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
(1958, 1988)
Preceded by
New constituency
Guy Fric
(1962, 1967)
Jean Morellon
Claude Wolff
Member of the National Assembly
for Puy-de-Dôme's 2nd constituency

Succeeded by
Guy Fric
(1959, 1963)
Jean Morellon
(1969, 1973)
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
New constituency
Claude Wolff
Member of the National Assembly
for Puy-de-Dôme's 3rd constituency

Succeeded by
Claude Wolff
Louis Giscard d'Estaing
European Parliament
Proportional representation Member of the European Parliament
for France

Proportional representation
Political offices
New office Secretary of State for Finance
Succeeded by
Max Fléchet
Preceded by
Pierre Chatrousse
Mayor of Chamalières
Succeeded by
Claude Wolff
Preceded by
Wilfrid Baumgartner
François-Xavier Ortoli
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Michel Debré
Jean-Pierre Fourcade
Preceded by
Georges Pompidou
President of France
Succeeded by
François Mitterrand
Preceded by
Maurice Pourchon
President of the Regional Council of Auvergne
Succeeded by
Pierre-Joël Bonté
Party political offices
New political party President of the
Independent Republicans

Succeeded by
Michel Poniatowski
Preceded by
Jean Lecanuet
President of the
Union for French Democracy

Succeeded by
François Léotard
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Alain Poher
Co-Prince of Andorra
Served alongside: Joan Martí Alanis
Succeeded by
François Mitterrand
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alain Poher
Honorary Canon of the
Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

Succeeded by
François Mitterrand
Diplomatic posts
New office Chair of the G6
Succeeded by
Gerald Ford
Academic offices
Preceded by
Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Invocation Speaker of the
College of Europe

Succeeded by
Joschka Fischer
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Claude Bartolone
as President of the National Assembly
French order of precedence
as Former President of the Republic
Succeeded by
Jacques Chirac
as Former President of the Republic