The decision to award the decoration was read out at the ceremony by Hungarian Ambassador to Lisbon Klára Breuer. According to the decision, President of Hungary János Áder granted the Order of Merit to Mr. David for his consistent advancement of Hungarian interests and aspirations and the improvement of Hungary’s perception in Europe.
In praising the awardee, Mr. Orbán said that Mário David had been nominated for the Middle Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit because for a long time he has been an advocate of Hungary’s achievements and its political and economic efforts.
“As a true friend, he stood by us even in times when others turned their backs on us”, the Prime Minister said. He added that one can learn who one’s true friends are when one is under attack.
In January 2012, he said, when Hungary and its government “found themselves under bombardment”, Mário David’s “clear, friendly, European voice” created order “in the chaos of unfairness and harsh words”.
The Prime Minister described the Portuguese politician as a person who knows Hungary and the Hungarian people especially well, who respects them, and who “became one of the EU’s most influential politicians by choosing as his political credo friendship, rather than conspiracy”.
In closing, Mr. Orbán said that “We wish to thank Mário David for always extending his friendly support to us, so that we Hungarians can feel at home in the European Union, even when under fire from attackers”.
Mr. David said that he accepted the decoration as a sign of the Hungarian people’s appreciation. He also considered it an honour to be able to accept the award from the Hungarian prime minister in person.
In his speech he said that he and Mr. Orbán have known each other for more than twenty-five years, and that they have been close friends throughout that time.
On the second day of his visit to Portugal, the Prime Minister will attend a meeting of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI) – the international organisation of Christian democratic centrist parties – and will conduct talks with Pedro Passos Coelho, President of the Portuguese Social Democratic Party (PSD), as well as Portuguese head of state Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.