French President Emmanuel Macron, along with EU leaders, today paid tribute to former President Valerie Giscard d’Estaing, “the great ruler of the European project”, on the first anniversary of his death.
“Valerie Giscard d’Estaing has made our Union more democratic”, “more solidarity” and “tighter”, said the French President at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, which was preceded by the heads of its three European institutions, the President European Parliament David Sassoli, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
For Valerie Giscard d’Estaing, “Europe was more than a utopia for the distant future and certainly more than a vague package of economic opportunities on the political minority common denominator,” insisted German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. But he was also a “friend of Germany and the Germans” and especially of then-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, he said in a speech to the former president’s wife, Anne-Aimon Giscard d’Estaing, his children and grandchildren.
The ceremony, which was originally scheduled to take place on VGE’s birthday on February 2, was delayed by ten months due to ill health. Thus, it finally took place exactly one year after his death from the effects of Covid-19, on December 2, 2020 at the age of 94.
“An exceptional man to whom Europe owes us so much” and “a European in a thousand ways”, in the words of David Sassoli, Valerie Giscard d’Estaing “was an architect of European integration throughout his life” , stressed Ursula von der Leyen.
“It is astonishing to see today how many ridges of his action describe the challenges of today and inspire our generation to meet them,” said Charles Michel from the European Parliament, next to a large portrait of the former president.
MEP from 1989 to 1993, after his presidency, Valerie Giscard d’Estaing is considered one of the architects of Europe, having worked on necessary stages of its construction such as the creation of the European Council, the election of the European Parliament with direct universal suffrage, the beginnings of monetary union or even the establishment of the European Space Agency, as Elize reminded before the ceremony. Actions viewed from archive images during the ceremony.
Since 2001, VGE has chaired the Convention on the Future of Europe, which has included public debates and reflections on the evolution of the European Union.
EU leaders also reiterated their support for “moving the French Republic forward” by lowering the voting age to 18, decriminalizing abortion or divorce by mutual consent.
Source From: Capital