dpa, French President Emmanuel Macron has recognised former President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who died at the age of 94, as a progressive statesman.

“The directions he gave to France still guide our steps,” a statement from the Elysee Palace in Paris said on Thursday.

Macron was born in 1977, in the middle of Giscard d’Estaing’s time in office, which ran from 1974 to 1981.

Macron posted a picture of his predecessor in front of the French flag on Twitter. Giscard, as he was often called in France, died on Wednesday.

Giscard d’Estaing served the French all his life, the statement said.

He also worked for a stronger Europe and the German-French relationship as the driving force of Europe.

The Elysee also recalled that the centrist politician had launched the predecessor to the group of seven large industrialized countries (G7).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid tribute to the politician for his friendship and services to Europe.

With his passing, “France has lost a statesman, Germany a friend, and we all have lost a great European,” Merkel said, in a message shared on Twitter by her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, in French and German.

“I remain thankful for the good conversations with him and am thinking of his family,” she added.

The European Union’s two leading officials also paid tribute to d’Estaing and offered their condolences to the French people.

European Council President Charles Michel credited him as the founding father of the institution Michel leads.

For the French political heavyweight, “the destinies of France and the European Union were intimately linked,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

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