Greece’s President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister hailed the role of former French leader Valery Giscard d’Estaing in championing European integration and his support for Greece’s accession to the European Economic Community (EEC) on the announcement of his death on Wednesday at the age of 94.
“We say goodbye to a long-time friend and ally of Greece, a defender of Democracy and European unification. Valery Giscard d’Estaing marked with his actions and initiatives the political life of France, but also of the whole of Europe,” President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said in a tweet.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis recalled that Constantine Karamanlis, the late former president of Greece, returned to Athens in Giscard d’Estaing’s own airplane on July 24, 1974, after the end of the seven-year military dictatorship, to be sworn in as prime minister.
“Democracy returned to our country in his plane. And with his support Greece joined the European family. Greece says goodbye to its great friend Valery Giscard d’Estaing with gratitude and emotion,” he said with a message on his official Twitter account.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the late French leader was “a prominent figure” of France and Europe.
“We will always remember him as a long-time friend of Greece in crucial moments and a great supporter of European values,” he added.