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New Year Message from the President of the Republic
Palace of Belém, 1 January 2016

Good evening,

I very warmly wish all Portuguese a Very Happy New Year.

The New Year is always a time of uncertainty but also one of hope.

We look towards the future without being aware of what it will bring – to us, to our families, to our Country.

But, at the same time, we always face the New Year with a feeling of hope, looking forward that it may be better and more prosperous, whether personally or family wise, or professionally.


Throughout ten years I travelled the whole Country, I visited the communities of the Diaspora, I contacted thousands of Portuguese.

These Portuguese are – all of you, all the Portuguese – our great expectation for hope in a time of uncertainty.

Through the Routes’ initiative I had the privilege, over ten years, to closely experience Portugal, to keep open a dialogue with the real Country, with its concerns and difficulties, but also with its anxieties and its achievements.

The first Route I launched, already in May 2006, was dedicated to social inclusion.

Farther than the dramatic features that nourish pessimism and despondency, I searched, above all else, to value the good examples, to extol the admirable work of persons and institutions that promote the fight against social exclusion, domestic violence, unemployment and poverty, against the discrimination of handicapped people.

Since then, I developed initiatives in the most diverse fields of activity: Science, Youth, Cultural and Historical Heritage, Local Innovative Communities, Dynamic Economy, Forestry, Fisheries.

I followed – followed very closely – the Portuguese who are building Portugal today. To them all I want to express my very deep gratitude.

Young scientists and researchers of excellence, economic, social and cultural entrepreneurs, officers of associative institutions, of social solidarity enterprises and volunteers, talented and creative artists, this is the immense Portugal which asserts itself in the present and evinces extraordinary projection for the future.

Our civil society demonstrated, in very difficult times, its vitality and its dynamism, its ambition to live in a better and fairer country.

All the Portuguese that I met – entrepreneurs, managers and workers, young farmers, local authorities and teachers, have a connecting link, a common denominator.

All of them, without exception, pledge a deep love for Portugal.

And it is with this patriotic ambition that we will jointly build a better country, with greater solidarity, with greater social justice.

The Portuguese who are building Portugal are seldom known or valued as much as they deserve.

The Portuguese who are building Portugal do not demand the impossible neither request much from their Country.

All they ask is for the State to create conditions in order that they may develop their work and, later, that the powers that be do not establish barriers to their activity, from job and wealth creation to the defence of the heritage and the environment, of social and technological innovation.

This is not an imaginary Country. This is the Portugal of present times, which we find alive from North to South, in the littoral and the interior, in the insular regions, in the communities of the Diaspora.

This is the real Country, the true Country, unknown to many politicians, that the media often ignores and which I closely experienced during my mandates.

This Portugal has now acquired the principles of freedom and democracy; it is fully identified with the civilizational values of the West and with Europe’s model of economic and social development.

The Portuguese who are building Portugal want to live in a land of peace, solidarity and progress.

For this reason, it is fundamental to fight inequalities and situations of poverty and social exclusion which still affect a considerable number of people: the elderly and needier, the unemployed and the precariously employed, the qualified youths that are not finding in their country the recognition they deserve.

Throughout History, many thousands of Portuguese went abroad searching for better living conditions.

Forty years ago, Portugal welcomed many thousands of Portuguese returning from the former African colonies. They returned to our country in difficult conditions, often tragic, and prospered here with the value of their work and their efforts.

We thus have the duty to welcome those that search us to become integrated in our society, sharing with us the values and principles which we will never renounce: democracy and freedom, tolerance and human dignity, respect for our culture and our traditions.

In a Europe stamped by stresses and conflicts, where extremist and xenophobic commotions surge in several locations, Portugal must assert its Universalist identity, the spirit with which, more than 500 years ago, we brought new worlds to the world.


We live a time of uncertainty.

We have the duty to defend the political, economic and social model that, throughout decades, has brought us peace, development and justice.

We have to renew the contract of trust amongst all the Portuguese, that which constitutes the major reason to believe in a better future, for us and for our offspring.

With hope in the future, I wish the Portuguese – all the Portuguese – a Very Happy New Year.

© 2006-2016 Presidency of the Portuguese Republic

You have gained access to the records of the Official Site of the Presidency of the Republic from 9 March 2006 to 9 March 2016.

The contents available here were entered in the site during the 10 year period covering the two mandates of President of the Republic Aníbal Cavaco Silva.