Emmanuel Macron pays tribute to Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and defends a legislative initiative for the European Parliament

A year after the death of the former President of the Republic, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, several European personalities paid tribute to him, Thursday, December 2 in the morning, from the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Emmanuel Macron greeted at the end of the ceremony “The great captain” from Europe that he was and a “Life given entirely to France and Europe”. « It is above all the great European that we celebrate ”, recalled his successor at the Elysee Palace.

Less than a month before the presidency of the Council of Europe (PFUE) by France, the Head of State took advantage of his speech to deliver a new European plea and declared himself in favor “A right of parliamentary initiative”.

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Speaking last during this tribute, Emmanuel Macron honored Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who “Made our union closer”, “More solid and more united”. “Valéry Giscard d’Estaing made our Union more democratic”, he continued. He also echoed the last wishes of « VGE » for the EU – “We ask you to succeed” -, affirming: “We have no choice and we are ready for it. “

“Unify this European demos”

Less than a month from the start of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, the 1is January 2022, Emmanuel Macron took advantage of this tribute speech to once again send a pro-European message, a position he has defended on the French and continental political scene since his election in 2017. Following the ceremony, the latter has planned to get in touch with European heads of state, in order to discuss his priorities for this semester of the rotating presidency.

During his speech, the Head of State declared himself in favor of a ” reinforcement ” from “Democratic vitality” of the European Parliament, defending the “Right of parliamentary initiative” for MEPs. They could thus initiate new legislation in the EU, a right currently held by the European Commission alone.

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“I support this idea of ​​transnational lists, allowing to unify this European demos, as also the creation of a right of parliamentary initiative for the European Parliament”, he said, before adding: “The European Parliament, which welcomes us today at its seat in Strasbourg, is a European miracle” and one “Democratic space unique in the world”. The President of the Republic also underlined that the new German Chancellery, led by Socialist Olaf Scholz, who will soon take office, also supports this measure.

Mr. Macron thus intends to make the French presidency of the EU, a moment of acceleration of the decisions of the Twenty-Seven on several subjects, in particular migration policy, carbon taxation at European borders or the establishment of a salary. minimum across the Union, while six countries do not have one.

“Friend of Germany and the Germans”

The tribute ceremony to the former French president, who died on December 2, 2020 at the age of 94 from the coronavirus, to recall his decisive role in European construction, was initially scheduled for the anniversary of his birth, on 2 February. She was delayed for ten months due to the health situation.

During the event, several European personalities spoke successively from the rostrum, first of all the leaders of the three European institutions – the President of the Parliament David Sassoli, the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the Council European Charles Michel.

“Exceptional man to whom our Europe owes so much” and “European with a thousand facets”, according to David Sassoli, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing “Has been an architect and architect of European integration throughout his life”, stressed Ursula von der Leyen. Charles Michel felt that he “It is striking to note how much the crest lines of its action outline the challenges of today and inspire our generation to meet them”.

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For Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, “Europe was more than a utopia for the distant future and certainly more than a vague bundle of economic opportunities on the lowest political common denominator”, insisted German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who spoke after them. But he was also the“Friend of Germany and the Germans”, and particularly of the Chancellor during his seven-year term Helmut Schmidt, he recalled.

A pro-European political course

In addition to several European heads of state, were present the wife of the former president, Anne-Aymone Giscard d’Estaing, her children and grandchildren, but also the former President of the French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy, and former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

Member of the European Parliament from 1989 to 1993, after his presidential mandate, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing is considered to be one of the builders of the European Union, having worked for the achievement of essential stages in its construction, such as the creation of the European Council, the election of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage implemented in 1979, as well as the beginnings of monetary union and the founding of the European Space Agency. From 2001, “VGE” also chaired the Convention on the Future of Europe, initiating debates and reflections on the development of the EU, and at the origin of the European Constitutional Treaty rejected in 2005 by referendum by the French.

The tribute paid to him on Thursday continued with a mass open to the public, given in his memory in Strasbourg Cathedral at 3 p.m.

The World with AFP