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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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His Majesty Juan Carlos [1938 - ]

King of Spain

8 October 1979

quoteThere is no difficulty that we cannot overcome if we show the necessary determination and imaginationquote

His speech:

...Mr President, the unity of Europe and of Europeans is a reality which existed before plans for European union. We Europeans have been aware of it throughout our chequered history. It was this view of European society which induced Francisco de Vitoria to study in Paris and Juan Luis Vives to teach in Louvain and Oxford, while El Greco painted in Toledo and Domenico Scarlatti composed in Madrid, to mention only a few examples from my country. The European fact is the basis for a European plan, a European design. It is to this that the European organisations respond, toward this that the oldest of them, the Council of Europe, directs its efforts, well aware that, in the words of Robert schuman,''Europe, before becoming a military alliance or an economic entity, must be a cultural community.''

Much remains to be done in the task of building up Europe. We still have a long road to travel, strewn with obstacles and intersected by crossroads. The important thing is that we have decided to take this road and to follow it, all of us together, since there is no difficulty that we cannot overcome if we show the necessary determination and imagination.

And with man as the starting-point and ultimate goal...

As was said by Miguel de Unamuno - a Basque, a Spaniard, a European and a universal figure - ''The final purpose of history and of humanity is man, every man, every one of us... The individual is the ultimate aim of the universe. We who are Spaniards feel this in our hearts''...