Welcome to the Official page of the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic

Note on navigating with support technologies

On this page you will find two navigation aids: a search engine (shortcut key 1) | Skip to content (shortcut key 2)
Visita ao Instituto dos Pupilos do Exército por ocasião do seu 100º aniversário
Visita ao Instituto dos Pupilos do Exército por ocasião do seu 100º aniversário
Lisboa, 25 de maio de 2011 see more: Visita ao Instituto dos Pupilos do Exército por ocasião do seu 100º aniversário


All Visits


Click here to reduce font size| Click here to increase font size
Speech addressed by the President of the Republic at the Military Ceremonies of the Commemorations of the National Day of Portugal, Camões and the Communities
Setúbal, June 10, 2007

Honourable Speaker of Parliament
Honourable Prime Minister
Honourable Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff
Ladies and Gentlemen
Military Forces,

We celebrate today, on June 10, the much that distinguishes us as a Nation. This is the day when, exalting our multi secular history, we remember our singular culture, the day when, reasserting our particular vocation of opening up to the World, we evoke the Portuguese adventure. And it is equally a day for a communion of the senses surrounding the Soul and the Feeling of being Portuguese.

Commemorating is not only revisiting the past, it is also to search in History for the soulful support and for the fount of inspiration to tread the paths of the present and to answer the command to continue Portugal.

Commemorating is to turn the future into an exalting challenge that will muster everybody. To proceed with a project that ensures the prosperity and the well being of the Portuguese, at the same time as it contributes to a fairer and more equitable world with greater freedom and security.

Proud of its History, Portugal mirrors itself in its Armed Forces.

The actions of the Military Institution were decisive in the greater moments of the Nation’s life. With courage, refusal and great patriotism, the Portuguese armed forces have known how to contribute to the defence and prestige of the Country, be it on the battlefields where duty called upon them, be it in the moments when it was necessary to regain national dignity or devolve the Nation’s destiny to whom it belongs – the people of Portugal.

A word of praise and special consideration is due, in this ceremony, to the former combatants, live witnesses and protagonists of our recent History.

The link between the Armed Forces and the commemorations of the National Day of Portugal stresses the eminently national characteristic of the Military Institution, with an historical path akin to that of the Nation.

The role of the Armed Forces is irreplaceable, since security is essential to development, to economic well being and to the people’s quality of life: these are priority goals for the State and noble objectives of political actions.

With a strong historical and cultural heritage and being a noted school of citizenship, the Armed Forces have closely followed the efforts for the Country’s modernization, adapting to the swift development of the knowledge and skills of the information society, and to a new type of conflict dictated by the new geo-strategic realities.

I have been able to witness how the Armed Forces are in these days a revived organization and open to change, buttressed by the new generations included in its numbers.

I was able to ascertain, in the youths that now serve Portugal as military personnel, in national territory and abroad, the same enthusiasm, the same availability, the same equitable spirit and wish to serve which I have found in the best of Portuguese youth.

In less than 30 years the Portuguese Armed Forces have shortened their numbers from more than 300,000 to little more than 40,000. They adopted their doctrine, developing into a projected and rapid reaction force, incorporated the feminine military service and abandoned the obligatory national service. In the last 15 years they have become internationalized, sending some 24 thousand military personnel to serve in foreign parts.

The Armed Forces carried out one of the most profound reorganizations within the State’s Central Administration, demonstrating it is a live, flexible and dynamic institution. Its transformation procedure is now traversing a new cycle which, as Supreme Commander, I have tried to follow and encourage.

This new cycle is based on the urgent primary need for better liaison and complementarity among the Branches, on the rationalization of means, and on the strengthening of the joint operational component.

The strengthening of joint actions is an objective which should be attained in the early future. For this purpose, it is crucial to reorganize the superior structure of defence, to employ forces operationally and to rationalize common services.

It is necessary that the remit of the Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff be defined and reinforced, that a Joint Operational Command be set up and that the reforms relative to the higher military education and health services be promoted.

This path must be pursued and the impetus of the reform kept up, with political determination and with the indispensable cooperation of the military chiefs, aiming to find the best solutions consistent with the national interest and with the specificity of the Armed Forces.

Any type of reform implies investment. The execution of the Laws of Military Programming and Infrastructure Programming is thus the key to the modernization and operational readiness of the National Forces System.

These are large but necessary investments, which can and must be made feasible, employing them in other missions in the public interest, other than those which are strictly military, avoiding duplication of means and taking advantage of highly qualified human resources.

Military Forces,

The full compliance with the mission attributed to the Armed Forces is taken for granted by the Nation and which, I am certain, the Military Institution assumes with a high sense of duty.

It was so throughout nearly 15 years of military deployment in Bosnia-Herzegovina, contributing towards the carrying out of a project for the future of that young European country, or, more recently, in the Congo Democratic Republic, aiding in the consolidation of the democratic process in that African region.

It is so in Kosovo, defending the security and stability in Europe; it is so in Afghanistan, fighting the scourges of terrorism and drug traffic; it is so in Lebanon, to re-establish the living conditions of a people martyred by war. It is so in many other locations, where Portuguese military personnel contribute towards the maintenance of international peace and security, promoting the values of freedom, of democracy and of respect for human rights.

These are new missions, in the service of noble causes, not exempt from risks, which must be understood and assumed as inherent to the military condition. These are missions where our military personnel work shoulder to shoulder with the best, confirming their sense of service, their skill and their high degree of training.

I must tell the Portuguese people that the recognized quality in the performance of our Armed Forces has allowed Portugal, as a sovereign country, to strengthen its statute whilst a member of the diverse international organizations to which we belong.

It is important that the Portuguese be conscious of the contribution of the Armed Forces to their security, by taking part in the resolution of conflicts which could possibly, directly or indirectly, have repercussions in Portugal, and by the credit thus obtained with the international organizations of Security and Defence, and with allied or friendly countries.

And it is also important that the Portuguese perceive, specifically in this Day of Camões, the contribution that the Armed Forces, in their missions abroad, have made towards the dissemination of our traditions and culture, of the Portuguese way of life and of our capacity for engendering good relations with other peoples.

Military Forces,

It is this Portuguese way of being in the world and the values it contains that on this day, the National Day of Portugal, I wished to stress before you. Values such as tradition, honour and discipline, but equally those of determination, audacity and non-conformism. Values which include very special meanings, values of a People, who dream and are full of courage, who were able to change into difficult what seemed impossible to achieve and reach what was believed unattainable.

The complex changes that the Armed Forces are facing today are not greater than the sense of service, the skill and the professionalism which has been proven by them, and which, as their Supreme Commander, I am extremely pleased to emphasize on this day.

I thus exhort you to continue your patriotic mission, certain that, in this way, you will keep on honouring Portugal.

© 2006-2016 Presidency of the Portuguese Republic