President Novák meets Portuguese counterpart in Lisbon

The war in Ukraine, demographic issues, and strengthening of defense were in focus at the talks.

President Katalin Novák told journalists that the war in Ukraine, demographic issues, and the strengthening of national defense and voluntary reservists were the focus of her talks with her Portuguese counterpart in Lisbon.

At a joint press conference with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President Novák said she and de Sousa were in agreement regarding the war and they both condemned Putin’s aggression and took a stand for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Hungarian president said the goal was to achieve peace, a ceasefire and peace negotiations as soon as possible. She also drew attention to the situation of the 150,000-strong ethnic Hungarian minority living in Transcarpathia and the curbing of their rights, which, she added, was a matter than must be brought up time and again. President Novák noted that her Lisbon call was her first official state visit, and Portugal and Hungary were friends and allies. The president noted that Portugal bestowed on her its highest honor for foreigners, the Order of Prince Henry Grand Collar.

Meanwhile, President Novák said the demographic crisis affected the whole of western Europe, and Hungary’s government had been working to reduce population loss for about ten years. In future, Portuguese and Hungarian experts will be able to share their experiences, she said, adding that she would invite the Portuguese president to the Alliance of Family-friendly Presidents, as well as the Budapest Demography Summit in September. She also noted that the 50th anniversary of ties between the two countries will be celebrated next year, and she has invited the Portuguese president to visit Hungary. President Novák broached the issue of national defense, noting that there are 200,000 voluntary reservists in Portugal, which sets an example to Hungary. A recruitment campaign has been launched in Hungary to increase the number of reservists and to strengthen national defense, she added. Answering a question, Novák said the greatest significance of the Bucharest Nine Summit in Warsaw was that the participating countries had been able to demonstrate their strength through unity and their alliance.