The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, was received today at the Royal Palace in Brussels by the Belgian kings, Philippe and Mathilde, and at the Federal Parliament, at the start of his state visit to Belgium.
The program for the head of state’s visit was adapted for security reasons following Monday night’s shooting attack in the Belgian capital, where the alert level was raised to maximum.
The welcoming ceremony that was to take place outside the Royal Palace and the laying of a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Congress Square did not take place, as they were on public roads.
The bilateral meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, scheduled for this afternoon, was also canceled.
The President of the Republic was received by Kings Philippe and Mathilde inside the Royal Palace at 11:00 local time (10:00 in Lisbon), where there was an official photograph, presentation of delegations and signing of the Golden Book in the Empire Hall by the Portuguese head of state in front of the media, followed by an exchange of gifts.
About an hour later, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa met in the Federal Parliament with the presidents of the Belgian House of Representatives, Eliane Tillieux, and the Senate, Stephanie D’Hose.
Accompanying him on this trip were the Minister for Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho, and MPs from the six parties with parliamentary groups: Marta Temido, from the PS, Gabriela Fonseca, from the PSD, Rui Paulo Sousa, from Chega, Joana Cordeiro, from the Liberal Initiative, Alfredo Maia, from the PCP, and Pedro Filipe Soares, parliamentary leader of the Left Bloc.
After lunch at the Royal Palace, the President’s program today includes a meeting with the Mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, and a banquet hosted by the kings at the Royal Castle of Laeken.
On Monday night, there was a shooting attack in the Belgian capital which left two people dead, and which led Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to cancel an outing after dinner and stay at the hotel, on the advice of the authorities.
Meanwhile, this morning, Belgian police shot dead a man suspected of the attack.