FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT GISCARD D’ESTAING DIES OF COVID-19
Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who led France into the modern era and was a key architect of European integration in the early 1970s, has died at the age of 94 after contracting COVID-19.
Giscard, who had been in hospital several times in the last months for heart problems, died “surrounded by his family” at the family home in the Loire region.
In a statement, the family said: “His state of health had worsened and he died as a consequence of COVID-19,”
The statement added that his funeral would be strictly private as according to his wishes.
Giscard, who was France’s leader from 1974 to 1981, became president at 48 – the youngest person elected in the 20th century – and embarked on a radical reform drive which included the legalisation of abortion, the liberalisation of divorce and lowering the voting age to 18.
In Europe, he helped drive moves towards a monetary union, in close cooperation with German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and the two men became good friends.
Together they launched the European Monetary System (EMS), a precursor of today’s single currency, the euro.