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5 months ago | World | 0 comments

By Xai Reyes

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.

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