The announcement came during a press conference in the European Parliament, on the occasion of the signing of the Regulation of the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, a pillar of the EU recovery package to overcome the Covid-19 crisis, which opens the door for Member States to start formally submitting their national plans for accessing funds to Brussels later this month.

"We have been working very intensively with the Commission since October until now and we are in a position to put our final draft plan to a public hearing in Portugal next Monday," announced Costa, who, as president-in-office of the Council of the EU, signed the regulation at a ceremony also attended by the presidents of the Parliament, David Sassoli, and the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

Costa indicated that he will now "proceed to hear the autonomous regions, the municipalities, the social partners, civil society, because this is obviously a plan that has to be a participatory plan also at national level".

"We did this in the first draft, we do this now in the final version. We will put it for a fortnight [the draft plan] in public discussion and therefore I hope that in three weeks we can be delivering the final version of our plan to the Commission," he said.

The head of government also said he expected the final negotiations with the EU executive led by Von der Leyen to be swift, because, he noted, "there is great alignment between the specific recommendations of the Commission" and the Government's programme "and what is a broad national consensus on what is a priority.

"I therefore do not foresee any particular difficulties in the final negotiation process with the Commission," he concluded.