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Numerous dignitaries of all nationalities and beliefs have been the honoured guests of the Council of Europe. These men and women, often instrumental in the implementation of political, social and cultural initiatives, illustrate the dynamism and values which, since the 1950s, have governed the work of the Council of Europe


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Carlo Sforza [1873 - 1952]

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy

18 November 1950

quote 1The fate of Europe is largely in your
handsquote 2

His speech:

Gentlemen, the fate of Europe is largely in your hands. You can, if you wish, become the successors, on this side of the Atlantic, of the men who in America are still called the Fathers. The Fathers sacrificed the wish for independence of the thirteen colonies and on 17th Sept. 1787 wrote the joint Constitution, beginning for the first time with the famous words "We, the people of the United States.''

What a wonderful day it will be for the whole world, but one which must come if we wish to remain free men, when we proclaim at Strasbourg "We, the people of Europe." It is almost superhuman to imagine it. Yet this event will decide whether Europe is to remain Europe or to become the miserable little unknown peninsula of Asia which it was before the miracle of Athens and Rome.

I know that the task is enormous. But if your decide to undertake it, the grandeur of the task will determine the greatness of your deeds.