June 8. 2023. 11:26

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Portugal wants extra €3.3 billion under EU recovery plan

Portugal has expressed its intention to request €3.3 billion in additional loans under the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), the European Commission announced on Wednesday, calling for the country to speed up implementation.

“It is important to accelerate the implementation [of the RRP], including the RepowerEU measures, also in a context where Portugal has requested €3.3 billion in additional loans,” said the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President with the portfolio of ‘An economy at the service of people’, Valdis Dombrovskis.

He was speaking at a press conference in Brussels on the day the EU Commission presented the spring package of the European Semester 2023, in which he urged Portugal to end support measures for families and businesses due to the energy crisis and use the ‘slack’ to reduce the deficit.

He also urged Portugal to speed up its recovery and resilience plan (RPP) implementation.

Another source explained that it was more likely that the country would opt for €3.3 billion, although the specific amount of additional loans would only be known when officially submitted to the European Commission.

The latter source said that, according to the Portuguese authorities, the revised RRP with the RepowerEU programme included should be submitted soon.

In statements to the press, Dombrovskis also spoke of an “additional amount of €704 million in subsidies through the RepowerEU programme”.

“All this also requires additional reforms and investment, so it is important that [Portugal] submits the adjusted plan while continuing to move full speed ahead with implementation,” he indicated.

Meanwhile, EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni indicated that as far as the RRP is concerned, Brussels sees no “special delays”.

“We are just putting pressure on [the country] to finalise the chapter on RepowerEU and the successive stages of the plan,” he explained.

The official also highlighted “the challenges that Portugal is facing” in budgetary terms.

“First […], the debt ratios are decreasing, and if this trend continues, as is the plan of the Portuguese authorities, this would allow next year to be free of imbalances; while the second point we highlight is the fact that house prices have increased strongly in recent years, although this growth is now being moderated and the response in terms of policies is considered adequate by the Commission,” said Gentiloni, speaking of a “trend for imbalances to go in the right direction” of reduction.

The Portuguese government has already revealed that it is in talks with the European Commission to reprogram the RRP in terms of funds and adaptation of projects.

Approved in 2021, the Portuguese RRP has a total allocation of €16.6 billion, €13.9 billion in subsidies and €2.7 billion in loans.

In information published on the government’s website during the public consultation on the review last April, it was stated that the RRP will now have a maximum allocation of €20.6 billion, “representing an increase of around €2.3 billion in subsidies and €1.6 billion in loans, compared to the plan approved in July 2021.

(Ana Matos Neves, edited by cristina cardoso – Lusa.pt)

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