Mr. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing

Honorary President, Atomium Culture

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was born in Coblence and was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981. During the European Council of Laeken in December 2001, he was nominated President of the Convention on the Future of Europe, that has as aim that to simplify the different European treaties to create a Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.

From 2002 to 2003 he was thus the President of the Convention on the Future of Europe that drafted the ill-fated Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.

In 2003, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was admitted to the Académie Française.

From 2007, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing is Honorary President of Atomium Culture having actively participated to its founding and development.

As a former President of the French Republic, he is a member of the Constitutional Council of the French Republic. It is a prerogative that he has taken recently.

He graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (1949 – 1951). From June to December 1954, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, then aged 29, was nominated Deputy Director of the cabinet of the President of the Council Edgar Faure. In 1956, he was elected to Parliament as a deputy for the Puy-de-Dôme département. He joined the National Centre of Independents and Peasants (CNIP), a conservative grouping. After the proclamation of the Fifth Republic, the CNIP leader Antoine Pinay became Minister of Economy and Finance and chose him as Secretary of State for Finances from 1959 to 1962.

In 1962, while Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, at the age of 36, had been nominated Minister of Economy and Finance, his party broke with the Gaullists and left the majority coalition. The CNIP reproached President De Gaulle with his euro-scepticism. But he refused to resign and founded the Independent Republicans (RI). It was the small partner of the Gaullists in the “presidential majority”. In 1966, he was dismissed from the cabinet he changed the RI into a political party, the National Federation of the Independent Republicans (FNRI), and founded the Perspectives and Realities Clubs. During the 1969 presidential campaign, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing supported the candidate Georges Pompidou and returned to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. On the French political scene, he appeared as a pre-eminent expert in economic issues.

In 1974, he was elected President of the French Republic when he was 48.

In 1975, he invited the heads of government from West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States to a summit in Rambouillet, to form the Group of Six (now the G8, including Canada and Russia) major economic powers. He has also served on the Trilateral Commission after being President, writing papers with Henry Kissinger.