At the invitation of the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, TT.RR.HH. the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess visited the Portuguese Republic from 11 to 12 May 2022. They were accompanied by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, the Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Corinne Cahen, the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, and the Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes.
As part of this State visit, an important economic delegation, made up of representatives of the future-oriented sectors of the Luxembourg economy, namely: digital economy, space, sustainable construction, tourism, financial services and sustainable finance, as well as representatives of various cultural institutions, accompanied the Grand Ducal couple.
TT.RR.HH. The Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess paid a first state visit to Portugal in September 2010. The holding of a second State visit - quite exceptional from a protocol point of view - is a mark of the excellent bilateral relations between Portugal and Luxembourg.
Wednesday 11 May 2022
In Lisbon, the Grand Ducal couple and their delegation were officially welcomed by the Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, at the Praça do Império, a symbolic national square which was conceived in 1940 on the occasion of the Portuguese World Exhibition, an event commemorating 800 years of Portuguese independence. After the military honours and the playing of the national anthems, the Luxembourg Head of State reviewed the guard of honour. Afterwards, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, accompanied by the ministerial delegation, went to the Church of Saint Mary in the Hieronymites Monastery to lay a wreath in front of the tomb of Luís Vaz de Camões, Portugal's most famous poet. A visit to the church and cloister of the Hieronymites monastery, emblem of the city of Lisbon and monumental testimony to the richness of Portuguese discoveries throughout the world, in the presence of the director, Dalila Rodrigues, and Canon José Manuel Dos Santos Ferreira, parish priest of the Church of Saint Mary of Belém, was also on the programme.
Escorted by the Republican National Guard on horseback, the Luxembourg head of state and his wife were taken to the Belém Palace, the official residence of the President of the Portuguese Republic. TT.RR.HH. the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess were officially welcomed by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. This reception was followed by a meeting between the Grand Ducal couple and the President of the Republic. Following this meeting, the two heads of state continued their discussions at a meeting which was also be attended by Ministers Jean Asselborn, Corinne Cahen, Franz Fayot and Yuriko Backes. Topics relating to bilateral relations and major European political and economic issues were on the agenda. The meeting was followed by a private lunch of the Grand Ducal couple with the President of the Portuguese Republic.
For his part, the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Franz Fayot, had a working lunch with the Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Francisco André. Current European issues and bilateral relations in the field of development cooperation were at the centre of the discussions.
Corinne Cahen, Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, had a working lunch in the presence of the Portuguese Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities, Ana Sofia Antunes, and the Portuguese Minister for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho. The exchange focused on the policies of Portugal and Luxembourg on accessibility for all. Minister Corinne Cahen also met the Portuguese Secretary of State for Equality and Migration, Isabel Almeida Rodrigues. The multiple challenges facing migration in general, the situation in Ukraine and the situation of Ukrainian refugees in Portugal were the main topics discussed.
Thursday 12 May 2022
In the early morning, TT.RR.HH. the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, accompanied by the Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Corinne Cahen, were welcomed at the Champalimaud Foundation for a visit in the presence of the President of the Foundation, Leonor Balzar, and the Vice-President, João Silveira Botelho. This Lisbon-based private biomedical research centre of excellence seeks to promote scientific research in the field of biomedicine, particularly in the areas of cancer and neuroscience.
The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, had a bilateral meeting with his counterpart, the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho, and the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Tiago Antunes. This was Minister Asselborn's first meeting with his new colleagues since they took office in March. After highlighting the historical and close relations that have linked the two countries for decades, Ministers Asselborn and Cravinho and Secretary of State Antunes discussed ways to further strengthen these relations in the future, especially in the economic field.
In addition to bilateral relations, the agenda of the discussion also included the main current European and international issues, including the war in Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, energy-related issues, the Conference on the Future of Europe and migration. In this context, the very broad convergence of views between Luxembourg and Portugal on many subjects was reconfirmed.
Afterwards, the Grand Ducal couple and Ministers Jean Asselborn, Corinne Cahen, Franz Fayot and Yuriko Backes went to the São Bento Palace, seat of the Portuguese Parliament, where they were received by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Portuguese Republic, Augusto Santos Silva. The official welcoming ceremony with military honours and the review of the guard of honour were followed by an extended meeting with the President of the Parliamentary Assembly and members of parliament.
The Portugal-Luxembourg Economic Forum and multisectoral seminars - jointly organised by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade (AICEP) - were the focus of the second day of the State visit. Focusing on major future-oriented topics: digital economy, space, sustainable construction and tourism, these seminars aim to intensify economic relations between the two countries, on the one hand by promoting Luxembourg companies seeking to integrate the Portuguese market, and on the other hand by facilitating new relations with Portuguese companies. This forum was marked by the presence of the Grand Ducal couple and the President of the Republic. H.R.H. the Grand Duke and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa gave the closing speeches of the seminar, followed by the Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, the Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Luc Frieden, and the President of AICEP, Luís Castro Henriques.
At the official residence of the Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic, São Bento Mansion, TT.RR.HH. the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess and the Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Corinne Cahen, were received for a lunch hosted by the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa.
On their side, the Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, was received by his counterpart António Costa Silva, for a working lunch, while the Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes, held the closing speech at an important seminar organised by Luxembourg for Finance.
In the afternoon, the Head of State and his wife, accompanied by Corinne Cahen, travelled to the coastal town of Cascais, where they were welcomed by the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Mayor of Cascais, Carlos Carreiras.
The programme included a guided tour of the exhibition "Portugal and Luxembourg - countries of hope in times of distress", retracing, on the one hand, the parts of the history of the Second World War common to the Portuguese and Luxembourg populations in a perspective of mutual solidarity, and, on the other hand, a contemporary approach allowing for a better understanding of the impact of Portuguese immigration on the physical and social landscape of Luxembourg, as well as the diversity and strength of the links created between the two countries for more than half a century. The visit was attended by the curators of the exhibition, Margarida De Magalhães Ramalho and Luisa Pacheco, as well as by the artists who have contributed to the success of this important project, which reveals the deep bilateral relations that have marked the history of the two countries.
They then went to the Casa Santa Maria, the home of the Grand Ducal family at the time. It was in June 1940, after the German invasion, that Grand Duchess Charlotte stayed in Cascais for several weeks with Prince Felix and their six children as well as members of the government before going into exile in London. The Grand Ducal couple, in the presence of Minister Corinne Cahen, will lay a wreath of flowers next to the bust of H.R.H. Grand Duchess Charlotte which was donated by the Grand Ducal couple during their last State visit to Portugal in 2010.
The Grand Ducal couple, accompanied by Ministers Corinne Cahen, Franz Fayot and Yuriko Backes, were then welcomed at the Campus Campolide of the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa by the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Rector of the University, João Sàágua. The Luxembourg head of state was awarded an honorary doctorate at an academic ceremony. The introductory speech was given by Ana Santos Pinto, Deputy Vice-Dean for International Relations and Inclusion of the University, followed by a speech by the laureate, HRH the Grand Duke, and the Rector of the University.
A visit to the Fintech House Lisboa, organised by the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHOFT) was also on the agenda of Minister of Finance Yuriko Backes. The Fintech House Lisboa is the largest centre for fintech, insurtech, regtech and cybersecurity in Portugal, providing access to talent, capital, partners or potential clients, as well as a direct connection to regulatory institutions.
The State visit ended with a dinner reception at Sud Lisboa, hosted by TT.RR.HH. the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess in honour of the President of the Portuguese Republic.
Press release by the Information and Press Service (SIP)