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Novák Katalin és Sousa elnök Lisszabonban 2023.02.23.

The President of Portugal is also joining the Network of Family-Friendly Presidents – Katalin Novák on state visit to Portugal

The Russian-Ukrainian war, achieving a peace agreement between the two sides as soon as possible, demographic issues and the strengthening of the defence and the volunteer reserve forces were among the topics of the meeting between President of Hungary Katalin Novák and President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon on Thursday.

During her press conference held with the President of Portugal, Katalin Novák recalled: this is her first state visit, and relations between Hungary and Portugal are characterised by friendship and alliance. The President added: on Thursday, she had the honour to receive the Grand Chain of the Order of Prince Henry, the highest Portuguese state recognition that may be awarded to a foreign national, following which she invited President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to join the Network of Family-Friendly Presidents.

She related that on the war, they see eye to eye with the President, as both condemn Putin’s aggression and stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The goal is to achieve peace, a ceasefire and the start of peace talks as soon as possible – she pointed out. She directed attention to the situation of the 150 thousand-strong Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia, pointed out that their rights are curtailed, of which she reminds her negotiating partners at every possible opportunity.

She stressed that the demographic crisis affects the whole of Western Europe, and that in Hungary, they have been working to halt the population decline for approximately ten years now. The Portuguese and Hungarian experts will be able to share their experiences with one another in the future – she said, and then added: she will invite the President of Portugal to join the Network of Family-Friendly Presidents and to attend the Demographic Summit to be held in Budapest in September. She also recalled that next year, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and that she will invite the President of Portugal to visit Hungary on that occasion as well.

As the third topic, she mentioned the question of the defence forces. Katalin Novák related that there are 200 thousand volunteer reservists in Portugal, which sets an example for Hungary. She added: in Hungary, a recruitment campaign has been launched to increase the number of volunteer reservists and strengthen the armed forces.

In response to a question, the President said: the greatest significance of the Bucharest Nine Summit in Warsaw was that the participating countries were able to demonstrate their unity and alliance, and the strength that this implies, and confirmed that they will defend every millimetre of allied territory. The President of Hungary also stressed that the reference in the closing document of the Summit to peace and to NATO's character as a defence alliance is a Hungarian achievement.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa underlined that Portugal and Hungary have several points of connection, including NATO, the UN and the European Union, but even the Arraiolos Group. He recalled that the latter was created by a Portuguese President and will celebrate its 20th anniversary in October.

Of their discussion topics, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa highlighted the Russian-Ukrainian war, as well as the situation of the Hungarians in Transcarpathia, the demographic and the economic issues that are related to the war.
He emphasized the need for a forward-looking and socially just Europe.

On Thursday, President Katalin Novák met with Deputy Prime Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva, then proceeded to view the Árpád Szenes exhibition at the Vieira da Silva Museum. 
After receiving the key to the City of Lisbon from Lord Mayor Carlos Moedas, Katalin Novák delivered a speech in front of the members of Lisbon’s City Council.

Katalin Novák said: Hungary and Portugal preserve their historical heritage, they do not abandon their traditions, culture and family values.

She recalled that the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out on this day a year ago, and that this war personally affects around 150 thousand Hungarians living in Transcarpathia. She stressed that no one would have thought that the war would last for so long, and that it must be prevented from escalating and a ceasefire between the two sides must be reached as soon as possible.

Lord Mayor of Lisbon Carlos Moedas explained: the Hungarian and the Portuguese nations are two of the world’s oldest nations. He pointed out that Hungary has been torn by the storms of history over and over again, but the country always found a way to overcome these challenges. All this has made Hungary an example for Europe and the world, Hungary is a talented country, a nation of exceptional scientists, researchers and physicians – he added.

On the last day of her state visit, Katalin Novák also met with Speaker of the House Augusto Santos Silva.