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President Higgins to attend meeting of European Presidents in Portugal

Date: Fri 6th Oct, 2023 | 09:54

The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, will today attend the annual ‘Arraiolos Group’ meeting of non-executive European Presidents. This year’s meeting, which will be attended by 14 Heads of State from across the continent, is taking place in the Portuguese city of Porto, and is being hosted by the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Today’s meeting will take place over two plenary sessions, in the morning and afternoon, where the Heads of State will discuss a number of critical issues on the European and global agenda, followed by an official dinner hosted by President de Sousa. Ahead of today’s meeting, President Higgins yesterday held bilateral meetings with President de Sousa, with the President of Malta, George Vella, and with the President of Estonia, Alar Karis.

In his contributions to today’s meeting, President Higgins is expected to draw attention to recent statements made by the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres – including at the UN General Assembly last month, which referred to the failure of some of the most powerful nations to meet their commitments on responding to climate change.

At the BRICS summit in August, Secretary-General Guterres went further to emphasise the urgent need for action to be taken on climate change. He spoke of the urgency of ensuring that the architecture of our international multilateral institutions is capable of addressing the great interlinked challenges of our time such as food security, migration, global poverty and building sustainable peace.

Following his attendance at the Arraiolos Group meeting, President Higgins will later this month travel to Rome, where he will speak on the theme of food security in a number of addresses to the World Food Forum. 

While in Rome, the President will also engage in a number of bilateral meetings, including with Pope Francis, whose encyclical Laudate Deum the President has welcomed, with the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella, and with the heads of the three Rome-based food organisations – the Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Dr QU Dongyu, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Alvaro Lario, and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) Cindy McCain.