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A European folding seat for Giscard

(B2 archives) Valéry Giscard d'Estaing has finally found a seat of international stature. Aged 75, the man who was one of the youngest French ministers, at 32, was indeed appointed by the fifteen Heads of State and Government meeting in Laeken (Belgium), " President of the Convention on the Future of Europe ". Chirac like Jospin are delighted. Twenty years after his ousting from the presidency of the republic in 1981... our national VGE has found a small jump seat. By the grace of the European consensus.

« The support of States from the first round of table was so important that we could not evacuate his candidacy explains Annemie Neyts, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. According to our information, VGE would thus have received, in addition to the support of the Franco-German couple, Italy, Spain and Austria. As some more reluctant states suggested that this was not the best, the Belgian presidency then pulled a solution out of its pocket. " So we looked for someone who had followed European developments as closely as possible since Maastricht. This is how two vice-presidents were appointed, two veterans of European politics, the former Belgian Prime Minister, Jean-Luc Dehaene (Christian-socialist), today mayor of Vilvorde and Giulano Amato (socialist ), former Italian Prime Minister.

« We have the same European spirit, I think “says Jean-Luc Dehaene. And if VGE has not been associated with the latest European work, " he will have to adapt ". As for Jacques Delors, he was left on the side of the road. Apparently without much regret. " It would have been a bad choice." executes it a foreign diplomat. Alone, Lionel Jospin shed a few crocodile tears in front of the French press. For Giscard and his associates, the work will begin in March and will last a year. The Convention will bring together representatives of the governments and parliaments of 28 States, already members or candidates for membership, as well as European parliamentarians. But no civil society. A few representatives of the dusty goods committee of the regions and of the economic and social committee and of the social partners will be well “invited as observers ».

By then, Giscard will perhaps have found a way to get to Brussels quickly. Its absence from the bays of Laeken was rather commented on bitterly by the observers present on the spot. A first misstep...

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

published in France-Soir, December 2001

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).