Élisabeth Guigou

Élisabeth Guigou (French pronunciation: [elizabɛt ɡiɡu]; born Élisabeth Vallier; 6 August 1946) is a French socialist politician.[1]

Élisabeth Guigou
Minister of Social Affairs
In office
18 October 2000  6 May 2002
PresidentJacques Chirac
Prime MinisterLionel Jospin
Preceded byMartine Aubry
Succeeded byFrançois Fillon
Minister of Justice
In office
4 June 1997  18 October 2000
PresidentJacques Chirac
Prime MinisterLionel Jospin
Preceded byJacques Toubon
Succeeded byMarylise Lebranchu
Minister for European Affairs
In office
3 October 1990  29 March 1993
PresidentFrançois Mitterrand
Prime MinisterMichel Rocard
Édith Cresson
Pierre Bérégovoy
Preceded byÉdith Cresson
Succeeded byAlain Lamassoure
Member of the National Assembly
for Seine-Saint-Denis' 9th Constituency
In office
Preceded byVéronique Neiertz
Succeeded byBastien Lachaud
Personal details
Élisabeth Vallier

(1946-08-06) 6 August 1946
Marrakesh, Morocco
Political partySocialist Party
Spouse(s)Jean-Louis Guigou
Alma materInstitute of Political Studies, Aix
National School of Administration, Strasbourg

Early life and career

Guigou was born in Marrakesh, Morocco. After attending Sciences Po Aix and ENA, France's elite graduate school of public affairs, she worked in Jacques Delors' staff in 1982 before being hired by Hubert Védrine in François Mitterrand's government. She was appointed Secretary-General of the Interminsterial Committee on European Economical Matters in 1986 during the period of cohabitation.


Political career

Guigou first got a taste of front-line politics when she was appointed Minister of European Affairs (1990–1993), during the campaign on the Maastricht Treaty.

Member of the European Parliament, 1994–1997

Guigou was elected to the European Parliament in the 1994 elections. Throughout her time in parliament, she served as vice-chairwoman of the Committee on Institutional Affairs. During 1994–1995 she was member of the Tindemans group. Together with Elmar Brok, she represented the European Parliament in the negotiations that produced the Amsterdam Treaty.

Member of the Jospin government, 1997–2002

In 1997, Guigou was elected to the National Assembly in the Vaucluse département and entered incoming Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's cabinet, as Minister of Justice (1997–2000) and then as Minister of Employment (2000–2002).

During her time in office, Guigou co-sponsored several bills that became law. She co-sponsored a 1998 law which abrogated the requirement of "manifestation of will" for children born in France of foreign parents to gain citizenship.[2] Also in the late 1990s, she took action to grant investigating magistrates more independence; at the same time, she gave the Justice Ministry the ability to intervene.[3]

Guigou also co-sponsored a 2000 law which articulated the French policy on presumption of innocence in media by prohibiting magazines and newspapers from publishing photographs of accused individuals wearing handcuffs or other scenes which may "jeopardise a victim's dignity".[4] It forbids the publication of photographs of survivors of violent crimes, including terrorist attacks, without their permission.[5] The law, which was unanimously supported by the Senate and later became known as the Guigou law,[6] was openly opposed by leading publications such as Paris Match, which ignores the law.

In 2001, in response to announcements of layoffs ahead of the 2002 presidential elections, Guigou and Jospin developed a proposal that required large employers planning layoffs to double severance-pay packages and provide at least six months' job retraining to laid-off workers.[7]

Member of the National Assembly, 2002–present

Guigou failed to be elected Mayor of Avignon and, facing possible defeat against Marie-Josée Roig in her district, was nominated as a candidate for the National Assembly in 2002 in the heavily left-wing département of Seine-Saint-Denis. She was re-elected in 2007.

Guigou campaigned for the Yes side in the referendum on the 2005 Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.

From 2010 until 2011, Guigou served as vice-president of the National Assembly. In 2011, she was a supporter of Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry's presidential bid. However, she later helped Aubry’s competitor François Hollande to prepare to re-negotiate European fiscal rules.[8]

Guigou has been serving as chairwoman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs since 2012. She is also a member of the Committee on European Affairs and the Working Group on the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest. In addition to her committee assignments, she serves as vice-chairwoman of the French-Moroccan Parliamentary Friendship Group.

In 2013, Guigou represented France for the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.[9]

Shortly after the referendum on the status of Crimea held on March 16, 2014, Guigou and her counterparts of the Weimar Triangle parliaments – Norbert Röttgen of Germany and Grzegorz Schetyna of Poland – visited Kyiv to express their countries’ firm support of the territorial integrity and the European integration of Ukraine.[10] This was the first time that parliamentarians of the Weimar Triangle had ever made a joint trip to a third country.[11]

Following the 2014 European elections, Guigou confirmed her interest in succeeding Michel Barnier as France’s member of the European Commission, thereby challenging Pierre Moscovici.[12]

Since 2015, Guigou has been serving as a member of the European Commission’s High-level Group of Personalities on Defence Research chaired by Elżbieta Bieńkowska.[13]


Governmental function

Minister of European Affairs : 1990–1993.

Keeper of the seals, Minister of Justice : 1997–2000.

Minister of Employment and Solidarity : 2000–2002.

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of the European Parliament : 1994–1997 (Became minister in 1997, and elected in parliamentary elections).

French Parliament

Member of the National Assembly of France for Vaucluse : June 1997- July 1997 (Appointed Minister of Justice in July 1997).

Member of the National Assembly of France for Seine-Saint-Denis : Elected in 2002, reelected in 2007 and 2012.

Regional Council

Regional councillor of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur : Elected in 1992, reelected in 1998, resigned in 2001.

Municipal Council

Deputy-mayor of Noisy-le-Sec : 2008-2010.

Other activities

Political positions

In December 2014, Guigou raised international media attention by sponsoring a resolution to ask the French government to recognise Palestine.[21]

In May 2016, Guigou joined 16 French female politicians – including Christine Lagarde and Fleur Pellerin – in calling for an end to “immunity” for sexist male politicians in an open letter published in the Journal de Dimanche newspaper. The letter came after Denis Baupin, deputy speaker of the National Assembly, resigned over sexual harassment claims.[22]

Personal life

Guigou is the spouse of Jean-Louis Guigou, a professor of economics, former technical adviser to Michel Rocard and civil servant. They have one child.


  1. "Assemblée nationale ~ Les députés : Mme Élisabeth Guigou". Assemblée nationale. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  2. French Embassy (in French)
  3. Gail Edmondson (November 15, 1999), High Anxiety In Paris Bloomberg News.
  4. "French law angers media". BBC News. 30 May 2000.
  5. Dan Bilefsky (April 30, 2016), Photo of Paris Massacre Victim Sets Off Press Freedom Case New York Times.
  6. Dan Bilefsky (April 30, 2016), Photo of Paris Massacre Victim Sets Off Press Freedom Case New York Times.
  7. Carol Matlack and Jack Ewing (May 14, 2001), Why Germany and France Are Veering Left Bloomberg News.
  8. Helene Fouquet (May 8, 2012), Socialist Elephants Stampede for Jobs With Hollande Bloomberg News.
  9. Kitty Donaldson (April 16, 2013), Kissinger to Attend Thatcher’s Funeral as Obama Stays Away Bloomberg News.
  10. Weimar Triangle countries support the territorial integrity and European integration of Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, press release of April 11, 2014.
  11. Parlamentarier des Weimarer Dreiecks: Röttgen, Guigou und Schetyna in Kiew Bundestag, press release of April 8, 2014.
  12. Frédéric Simon (May 7, 2014), France EU hopeful urges new Commission to be ‘more political’ EurActiv.
  13. Simon Taylor (March 30, 2015), High-level group of personalities on defence research European Voice.
  14. Elisabeth Guigou elected as new President of the Anna Lindh Foundation Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures, press release of October 12, 2014.
  15. Members of the Council European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
  16. Board of Trustees Friends of Europe.
  17. Governance Institut de Prospective Economique du Monde Méditerranéen (IPEMED), Paris.
  18. Scientific Committee Institut du Bosphore, Paris.
  19. Board of Directors Institut français des relations internationales (Ifri).
  20. Membership Trilateral Commission.
  21. John Lichfield (December 2, 2014), Palestinian statehood: French national assembly votes overwhelmingly to ask government to recognise Palestine The Independent.
  22. 'Don't comment on our 'great breasts: French female politicians fight back The Daily Telegraph, May 16, 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by
Édith Cresson
Minister for European Affairs
Succeeded by
Alain Lamassoure
Preceded by
Jacques Toubon
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Marylise Lebranchu
Preceded by
Martine Aubry
Minister of Social Affairs
Succeeded by
François Fillon
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