EURODEFENSE Presidents Council
Lisbonne 2016

Opening speech
by President of EuroDefense-Portugal,
Mr. António Figueiredo Lopes

Mr. Chairman, Dear Presidents and members of delegations, dear Secretary General

On behalf of our host, the President of the Portuguese Industrial Association, who apologizes for not being present, and in the name of EuroDefense-Portugal, it is my pleasure to welcome all the Presidents and members of the National EuroDefense Associations gathered here today.

I would like to address a special greeting to our Chairman the President of EURODEFENSEnetwork, l'Ingénieure Général Patrick Bellouard, who is also the new President of EuroDefense-France. We are very grateful for your personnel contribution to the developmentof the activities of EuroDefense in 2016. I wish you a very successful presidency.

Also a special welcome to our Secretary General Jean Guinard that, over the past ten years, has worked hard to make our meetings very productive. Before we start with our agenda, allow me to spend a few more minutes to underline the factthat we are meeting today and Friday morning in this beautiful room known as the Hall of Presidents because here usually gathers the Executive Board of the Portuguese Industrial Association. It is my duty to thank the President Jose Eduardo Carvalho for his support inorganizing this high level EURODEFENSE meeting.

I would like also to take this opportunity to remember that AIP, is one of the historic co-founders of EuroDefense-Portugal, together with the National Defence Institute.

Thanks to its invaluable support, we could find conditions to sustain our activities. For manyyears our offices were installed in this building. Two years ago we moved into the facilities ofthe Ministry of Defense, to whom we owe today the substantial part of our survival.

Speaking about survival or sustainability of our associations, I think it's fair to remember those to whom we owe very much.

Therefore we decided to invite to be here today at the opening of this meeting the person whowas actually the founding father of EuroDefense-Portugal. We would like to pay to Mr. Jorge Rocha de Matos, the former President of AIP and currently the President of the AIP Foundationa simple tribute before you, the Presidents and members of National EuroDefense Associations and with your witness.

In fact he is the real founding father of EuroDefense-Portugal.

It was due to his impulse and personal commitment that, 20 years ago, the idea arose and was soon followed by the Minister of Defence to create in Portugal a structure that could integrate the EuroDefense Associations network launched two years before in France by Pierre Shwede, also an entrepreneur with particular sensitivity to security and defense issues.

Thanks to the decisive impulse of Rocha Matos and the persistent dedication of a small group of volunteers, EuroDefense-Portugal stands for almost 20 years now, having developed a remarkable role in raising awareness of the new generations to defense issues and I am happy to stress today that EuroDefense-Portugal is becoming stronger as we just got a new legal statute and, no doubt, more attractive to new members.

Unfortunately, for urgent reasons, the president Jorge Rocha de Matos cannot be with us but he was kind enough to send us a written message that we will distribute. I hope he will joined us tomorrow in the dinner.

Dear Colleagues, I wish you a good meeting and a pleasant time with us.

I assume that we did everything to make these three days of your stay in Lisbon very nice and productive.

Only we couldn't confirm the good weather conditions and the traditional Avril in Portugal, as we predicted last November when we proposed this date for our spring meeting. Unfortunately the spring is missing and the dark clouds and cold winds are imposing to prevent the Sun to shine and to warm us.

Signs of these uncertain and unpredictable times. But we will stand up.

Thank you very much for your attention.

13 April 2016
António Figueiredo Lopes
President of EuroDefense-Portugal