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Edith Cresson

Cresson, Edith (ādētˈ krĕsōNˈ) [key], 1934–, French politician, b. Edith Campion. After studying at the École des Hautes Études Commerciales, she became a consultant in private industry. Active in the Socialist party, she became national secretary of the party (for youth) in 1974 and was elected to the European Assembly in 1979. She then held a series of ministerial appointments, including agriculture and forestry (1981–83), trade and tourism (1983–84), and industrial redeployment and foreign trade (1984–86). From 1986 until her resignation in 1990, she was a member of the national assembly. In May, 1991, President François Mitterrand recalled her to replace Michel Rocard as premier, but she resigned in Apr., 1992, and was replaced by Pierre Bérégovoy. In 1995, Cresson was appointed to the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU), but allegations of corruption led her and 19 other commission members to resign in 1999. She was charged in 2003 by Belgium with fraud relating to contracts prepared by her EU office in the late 1990s, but the charges were dropped in 2004. In 2006, however, the EU ruled that she had violated her official duties, but she was not penalized.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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