Our founder, the late François Visine


François Visine was born on 24 September 1922 in Haraucourt, near Nancy. A Doctor of Law and Economics, a winner of prizes awarded by Law Faculties, the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and the Académie française, and a Member of the European Senate, he was a passionate lifelong defender of the European cause. He took on numerous commitments, but the apotheosis of his European work was the creation and development of the Fondation du Mérite européen. He died in Paris on 14 February 1995.


A senior NATO official from August 1951 until September 1987, François Visine always campaigned for an “existential and humanist” Europe, for a society that shows respect for mankind and freedom. He established the Club de l’ABC de l’Europe, an association under French law that was intended to facilitate an awareness of Europe by all appropriate means and, in particular, to encourage the compilation and dissemination of all works of an encyclopaedic nature on the then constantly evolving Europe. This Club became the legal basis of the Mérite européen and the Fondation du Mérite européen took over from it.


François Visine was the author of numerous works, including the very well-known “dictionnaire Visine de l’Européen”  1980). Most of his works and articles are available in the Luxembourg State Archives.


“Peace would be easier to achieve if mankind could be made to adhere to aconcept

of respect for different ideas, languages, civilisations, codes of ethics, religions ....
This concept exists and it is called ‘federalism’ ...”
(François Visine)