7th December 2020
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, President of France from 1974 to 1981, died on 2 December 2020, aged 94. This appreciation of Giscard d’Estaing was written after the conclusion of his two years as Chairman of the European Convention in 2003. The author, Tony Brown, worked as an Advisor to the Oireachtas Members of the Irish Delegation to the Convention
The Convention’s success in producing, with near unanimity, a comprehensive constitutional text owed much to Giscard’s presidency marked, in the words of the Financial Times, by “a mix of charm, guile and a certain authoritarianism that one would have expected from a former inhabitant of the Elysée.” Although initially adopted by EU governments, it was not until 2009 that the Lisbon Treaty, containing its main elements for the reformed governance of the EU, was signed and approved, in Ireland’s case after two referenda.