Statement by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker following the death of Mário Soares
It was with great sadness that I learned of Mário Soares' death.
I extend my sincere condolences to his family, and the Portuguese nation as a whole.
The life of Mário Soares was inextricably linked with Portugal's recent history as well as with key moments of the European project.
Mário Soares was a symbol and a driver of resistance to the dictatorship and of the fight for democratic transition in his country.
Mário Soares made a key contribution to rendering the process of democratisation irreversible. A process that would spread across the South of Europe and that placed Portugal, as well as Spain and Greece, on the path to accession to the European Union, an anchor for those democratic values.
My friend Mário Soares has never turned away from the fight for democracy or from the responsibilities of a democrat. It was the case during those difficult years when democracy was successfully established - though not without difficulties - in Portugal. And it was the case when he exercised all the functions entrusted to him by the Portuguese people with dynamism and vision, helping transform Portugal into an indispensable member of the European family.
Mário Soares leaves us at a time when we are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the accession of Portugal to the then European Economic Community where, unsurprisingly, his name appears in the accession treaty.
Proudly Portuguese, proudly European, with his passing both Portugal and Europe lose a part what of made them all they are today.