Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was speaking at a reception for the Portuguese community in the United Kingdom, after the Minister for Foreign Affairs, João Gómez Cravenho, read the speech which the Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, intended to give on this occasion, had he not been banned from traveling for health reasons.
With former Prime Minister and former President of the European Commission Durao Barroso among the attendees, the Head of State began highlighting the importance of the Portuguese community in the United Kingdom.
“After this morning, in Braga, when hundreds of thousands of Portuguese, mostly from Minho, but from all over the north, gathered to celebrate Portugal Day, it is admirable that there are now, here, in London, so many Portuguese here. From the smallest community we have in all over the world,” noted the President of the Republic.
Then Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa received an extended welcome when he addressed the youngest members of the Portuguese community and said, “They are here to celebrate our country. It is a great honor to be President of the Republic of a country that has permanent ambassadors to the United Kingdom.”
Citing the letter previously read by João Gómez Cravenho, on behalf of the Prime Minister, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, he added: “You are in all areas of life and regions of this great country, our ally for centuries, centuries and centuries, our dear ally this is the United Kingdom.”
Then the President of the Republic highlighted the actions in the UK for Portuguese nurses, teachers, researchers, management and economic staff – a whole new generation “connected in a network with the older generation”.
In the middle of his speech, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa made a personal note and made the audience laugh when he spoke on one of the episodes of his family life today.
“The best future for my family is living outside Portugal, I am one of two children and all of my grandchildren. Someone even works here in London today, and he called me to say he couldn’t come,” he said.
Part of the audience laughed, the head of state explained what happened: “You are doing an internship in a box [financeiro]. They know what money is like, they take the opportunity to work in the morning, afternoon and night,” he commented.
Regarding the United Kingdom, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa defended that Portugal had a “very strong and consistent alliance”.
“We owe our independence in the 14th century to British support. We owe the restoration in the 17th century to British support. But the British got our support at the crucial moments.”
According to the President of the Republic, Portugal and the United Kingdom are “both powers at sea, connected by oceans.”
“In difficult moments of conflict on several continents, we depended on the British and the British. Today, we remain allies,” he noted.
In this context, the President of the Republic spoke about the current state of Portuguese-British diplomatic relations after the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
“In the complex moments of international life – in addition to the fact that this alliance is a translation of being universal to each other, and of being European to each other, although each individual lives as European in a different way – we have been able to put in place in a short period of time,” he noted. All that was necessary so that British society could exercise the fundamental rights ‘in Portugal.
Regarding Portuguese residents of the United Kingdom, the Head of State advocated that, on the British side, there had always been “a willingness to recognize the rights to be exercised in this country”.
There are not many alliances that lasted six or seven centuries, consistent and solid. Alliances only last because someone, like you, builds that alliance every day. Each of you is an ambassador for Portugal. “We have the best researchers, the best students, the best staff here,” he added.
“Friendly zombie guru. Avid pop culture scholar. Freelance travel geek. Wannabe troublemaker. Coffee specialist.”