Wednesday morning in Luxembourg saw the welcoming of Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa on an official visit that kicked off with a military honours reception by Xavier Bettel at about 9:25am.
This was the start of a packed programme for Costa with visits to the Grand Ducal Palace, parliament and a trip to Differdange for an afternoon meeting with the Portuguese community.
For the morning reception on Place Clairefontaine in the capital, surprisingly few people knew what was going on. “I see the Portuguese flag so I guess it’s a Portuguese visit,” said one of those present at the ceremony.
Another woman stated that she was there because of her son. “He’s in the military and has his first public appearance today.”
And a tourist from Taiwan asked, visibly amused: “Do you do this here every day?”
None of this put a damper on the cordial reception. Bettel and his Portuguese guest even had time for a short detour managing to pop into a café before the appointment in the palace, a surprise that thrilled native Portuguese waitress Marlène. “Suddenly two Prime Ministers are in front of me; one from my new and the other from my old homelands.”
This was a comment that appeared to aptly sum up Costa’s visit to Luxembourg.