Giscard d'Estaing, Valéry

Giscard d'Estaing, Valéry (Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing) välārēˈ zhēskärˈ dĕstăNˈ [key], 1926–2020, French political leader, president of France (1974–81); b. French-occupied Germany. A member of the national assembly at the age of 29, he was deputy finance minister (1959–62) and finance minister (1962–66) in Charles de Gaulle's government. He held the latter post again in 1969 under President Georges Pompidou, supporting European economic integration and closer ties with the United States. Leader of the Independent Republicans, a conservative group allied with the Gaullists, he ran for president after Pompidou's death in 1974, defeating Socialist François Mitterrand. As president he secured a number of social reforms and continued to advocate for stronger European ties. but was unsuccessful in dealing with inflation and rising unemployment. After losing to Mitterrand in 1981, he returned (1984–89, 1993–97) to the national assembly, playing a major role in unifying France's right wing. Giscard also served in the European Parliament (1989–93) and as president of the Auvergne regional council (1986–2004). In 2001 he was appointed president of the Convention on the Future of Europe, which was charged with drafting a new for the European Union; the draft failed to win EU approval but paved the way for the Lisbon Treaty (ratified 2009).

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