Portugal: Council of State to convene on Tuesday with guest Senator John Kerry

The president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, will convene the Council of State on Tuesday, with the United States President’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Senator John Kerry, as his guest, the president’s palace announced on Friday.

This meeting of the political consultation body of the head of state, held at the Palace of Cidadela de Cascais, in the Lisbon district, coincides with the United Nations Oceans Conference being held in Lisbon between Monday and Friday.

“The meeting will address the prospects, challenges and opportunities of combating climate change and energy transition, with the Special Envoy of the president of the United States for climate, Senator John Kerry, as the guest,” reads the note published on the website of the Portuguese presidency.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s invitation to John Kerry to participate in the Council of State meeting was made on 11 February during a meeting between the two men in Brest, France, on the sidelines of the international summit “One Ocean”, promoted by the French presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Portuguese president said that at the time, the former US Secretary of State, currently President Joe Biden’s special envoy for climate issues, would be in Lisbon for the United Nations Oceans Conference, organized by Portugal together with Kenya.

Since taking over as head of state in March 2016, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has increased the frequency of meetings of the Council of State, his consultative political body, and has innovated by inviting foreign and Portuguese personalities to the meetings of this body.

The first guest was the former president of the European central bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, in April 2016.

Presided over by the President of the Republic, the Council of State has as inherent members the holders of the positions of speaker of parliament, prime minister, president of the Constitutional Court, ombudsman, presidents of the regional governments and by the former presidents of Portugal.

In accordance with the Constitution, it also includes five citizens designated by the head of State, for the duration of his mandate, and five elected by parliament, in accordance with the principle of proportional representation, for the duration of the legislature.

When he began his second mandate on March 9, 2021, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa appointed the writer Lídia Jorge as a councillor of state and reappointed the former leader of the CDS-PP António Lobo Xavier, the former leader of the PSD Luís Marques Mendes, the president of the Champalimaud Foundation, Leonor Beleza, and the neuroscientist António Damásio.

Following the legislative elections on 30 January this year, parliament will have to elect five new members of the Council of State in the new legislature.