Valéry Giscard d'Estaing on "The Preparation of the European Constitution"
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, president of the Convention on the Future of Europe, delivered the 2002 Kissinger Lecture at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress. The lecture was free and open to the public. For more information, read the News Release for this event.
Biography: Born on Feb. 2, 1926, Giscard d'Estaing served as a young man in the French Resistance during World War II; at the age of 18 he enlisted in the French Army. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre for his participation in campaigns through the end of World War II. After completing his studies at the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, Giscard d'Estaing joined the Inspection Générale des Finances in 1952. In 1956 he was elected as a deputy to the French National Assembly from Puy-de-Dôme; he was reelected four times and served until 1974. He served as minister of finance and economic affairs under President Charles de Gaulle from 1962 to 1966, and as minister of economy and finance under President Georges Pompidou from 1969 to 1974.
Giscard d'Estaing was elected president of France on May 19, 1974, at the age of 48. During his term of office, until 1981, he played a key role in several crucial international initiatives, including the establishment of the European Council, the election by universal suffrage of the European Parliament, the creation of the European monetary system (a project presented jointly by France and Germany in 1978), and the inauguration of world summits of chiefs of state and heads of governments of the principal industrialized democracies. The first summit was held at Rambouillet, France, in 1975. After he left the presidency, Giscard d'Estaing was again elected to the National Assembly from Puy-de-Dôme and served from 1984-1989; he was reelected in 1993 and 1997.
Elected as a deputy to the European Parliament in 1989, Giscard d'Estaing served in that capacity until 1993. In October 1997, he was elected president of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and reelected in 2001. In December 2001, the European Council appointed him president of the Convention on the Future of Europe.
Giscard d'Estaing is also the author of several books, including "Démocratie français" (1976), "Deux Français sur trois" (1984), "Le pouvoir et la vie" (1988), "L'Affrontement" (1991), "Dans cinq ans, l'an 2000" (1995), and in 2000, "Réflexions sur le destin d'un peuple."