Statement following the passing of President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

With the death of President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Europe loses one of its most eminent supporters, and the centrist and liberal family, of which he was group president in the European Parliament, one of its great figures. We join in the grief of his loved ones and offer our condolences to the French people.

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing devoted his entire life to the service of his country and Europe. His heart beat both for France and for Europe. Throughout his career, he demonstrated this through deeds. At the national, local and European level, he never ceased to contribute with perseverance and determination to the construction of the European project.

His action was decisive in allowing the election of the European Parliament by universal suffrage. Through the Conference on the Future of Europe, we want to pursue this anchoring of our Union in our citizens. We also want to remember that he was instrumental in the election of Simone Veil as President of the European Parliament, in close collaboration with Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, with whom he played a leading role in deepening the European project.

President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was also an audacious reformer deeply attached to humanist values. His commitment to women's rights, notably with the law decriminalising abortion, the lowering of the electoral majority to 18 years of age, and the introduction of divorce by mutual consent are a legacy that we recall at a time when some in Europe intend to challenge our edifice of values.

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing sometimes seemed to doubt the imprint he would leave on history, "we draw signs on the sand, you know what the tide does in fact" he used to say. Let him be reassured, we know what we owe him.