President Valery Giscard d'Estaing was back in his old form on Thursday (22 April) when he held his first news conference in more than a year at the Elysee Palace.
GV Elysee Palace
SV Giscard speaking in French
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Background: President Valery Giscard d'Estaing was back in his old form on Thursday (22 April) when he held his first news conference in more than a year at the Elysee Palace.
Showing confidence, serenity and determination in the face of adverse polls and criticism, he told the news conference he intended to ensure that France was a peaceful and serious-minded democracy.
The President said the French people must agree to work together but to do so they must have the feeling of being justly treated. He declared that for him, the most important single event in France in recent months was the recovery of the French economy.
President Giscard called for a moderate attitude on wage demands. He said, however, that a collective discipline of moderation presupposed a certain social justice.
The President refused to be drawn into comment about his growing political problems which resulted mainly from rapid advances made by the opposition left in recent local elections.
But he reaffirmed that he would not call a general election before it was due in 1978. He declined to say what he would do if the opposition won.
President Giscard made it clear that despite student unrest in France, the text of educational reform proposals would not be altered. The proposals aim at bringing university courses more into line with the economy's requirements and so will reduce the number of arts students.
He defied anyone who had actually read the text of the proposals to justify claims that it was making the universities the slaves of industrial employers as adversaries maintained.
The President used his news conference to promise a blueprint for social and economic change, defend capital gains tax proposals, express optimism about France's economic future and deride the French Communist Party's claim to be undergoing a liberal transformation.