World Media

Former French President Giscard d'Estaing has died: Europe 1 radio

Former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has expressed condolences to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron over the passing of former president of France Valery Giscard d'Estaing, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian leader.

Giscard d'Estaing died Wednesday evening "surrounded by his family" on his property in Authon in Loir-et-Cher, west France, Europe 1 radio reported.

"His state of health had deteriorated and he died as a result of #COVID19".

Giscard's family said that according to his wishes funeral ceremonies would take place in the "strictest intimacy".

A view of Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing's house after he passed away, in Authon, France, December 3, 2020.

Elected president at 48, he came to power after Charles de Gaulle's long rule.

Together they laid the foundations for the euro single currency.

"Mr. Giscard d'Estaing was deeply committed to strengthening European unity and cooperation".

Macron thanked Giscard for his "audacity and courage" on issues such as women's rights in the workplace, divorce by mutual consent, lowering the voting age to 18 and abortion rights.

He also hosted garbage collectors to breakfast and invited himself to dinner at the homes of ordinary citizens.

During a TV debate with opponent Francois Mitterrand in 1981, Giscard delivered what he thought would be a knockout blow by calling the Socialist "the man of the past".

Tributes poured in across the political spectrum in France.

Aged just 18, he joined the French resistance in World War II and took part in the liberation of Paris from its Nazi occupiers in 1944.

In 2001, he was selected by European leaders to lead work on the bloc's constitutional treaty.

Earlier this year, a German journalist accused Giscard of repeatedly grabbing her during an interview, and filed a sexual assault complaint with Paris prosecutors.

Tweeting in French and English, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Giscard a "hugely important figure in modernising France".