Valéry Giscard d’Estaing
(passed away on December 2, 2020)
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 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.
Michelangelo Baracchi Bonvicini was born in London and grew up in Italy, where he completed his classical studies. He graduated in History at the University of Bologna. After pursuing journalism within the field of foreign correspondence, which brought him to Kosovo and Albania (1999), Israel and Palestine during the second Intifada (2002), Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran (2003), he dedicated himself to historical research, with special attention given to the European issues.
Scholar of European integration, his latest research on the subject is on the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe where the accounts of the meetings with the President of the European Convention Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and with the Italian Vice President Giuliano Amato are included (2003-2004); a comparative study on the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe and the Constitution of the United States of America (2004); the reconstruction policy of Republican Italy, with special reference to the political -and European Policy- thinking of Alcide De Gasperi, where his interviews with the Italian Senator Giulio Andreotti are included (2005).
From 2006 to 2009, together with the current French Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire, he promoted and coordinated a start-up for an independent european and non-profit platform that saw the engagement of some of the most authoritative universities, media and businesses in Europe. In November 2009, during the first conference held at the European Parliament, he publicly launched Atomium – EISMD together with the Honorary President Giscard d’Estaing and the leaders of the institutions engaged. Baracchi Bonvicini and Giscard d’Estaing were awarded, in 2011, the medal “Plus Ratio Quam Vis” from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow for “their contribution to the European academic community by founding Atomium”.
Currently is President of Atomium – EISMD and, together with President Giscard d’Estaing, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of REIsearch, a non-profit European initiative co-funded by the European Commission, Nokia, Elsevier, and other Atomium partners. REIsearch intends to demonstrate how a technological tool, coupled to a broad network of leading media, research institutions, researchers, civil society organisations, and citizens, can help policy makers to make better use of current scientific research.