Award of the Council of Europe North-South Prize 2022
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (C), flanked by the president of Portugal's parliament Augusto Santos Silva (R), and by the President of the Executive Committee of the North-South Center, Ambassador Francesca Camilleri Vettiger (L), MIGUEL A. LOPES/LUSA

Ukraine war “cannot be lost”, nor battle against climate change – president

Marcelo sees both struggles as ‘urgent and generational’

Speaking on the day European leaders have decided to open up accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, Portugal’s president has stressed that the war in the former “cannot be lost”.

Talking in the Senate Chamber of parliament at a ceremony where he presented the Council of Europe 2022 North-South Award to the Association of Ukrainian Cities and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Marcelo also said that the war against climate change is another struggle that has to be won.

Mayor of Mariupol Vadym Boychenko received the award on behalf of the Association of Ukrainian Cities; Jim Skea the award on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Marcelo’s speech referred to the fact that Portugal “realised from the outset the urgency of the war in Ukraine, and the reconstruction of Ukraine” and has been “one of the pioneers, within the framework of the European Union and beyond, in climate action, in the fight for energy transition, in the search for cleaner energies, in the sensitivity to set bold, determined and unpostponable goals.

“That’s why we’re all here so mobilised for your wars”, he told the two representatives receiving the award, “and we’re sure that this award is a symbol of our common commitment, yours and ours, to think about what unites us, which is not just Europe, not just North-South dialogue, but the affirmation of values that are essential to humanity”. 

The Council of Europe’s North-South Prize annually honours two personalities or organisations for their commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law, seeking to contribute to North-South dialogue and foster solidarity, independence and partnerships.

The Council of Europe is an international organisation for the promotion of human rights, founded on May 5, 1949, with 47 member states, including all the countries of the European Union.