At a press conference to present the European Commission’s spring economic forecasts in Brussels, Gentiloni commented that the projections for Portugal are “really good, both for growth and in relation to the debt-to-GDP ratio, which in 2023 should be reach 115%, which is below the pre-pandemic level.”

Admitting that the forecast of strong growth of the Portuguese economy for this year, the highest among the 27 Member States of the Union, is also due to the fact that Portugal did not grow “as strongly in 2021 compared to other countries” - Portuguese GDP grew by 4.9% last year, below the European average of 5.4% -, the European commissioner then also highlighted the role of the strong return of foreign tourists, after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

External tourism

“I think the reopening of tourism to a country mostly based on external rather than internal tourism also played an important role,” he said.

The European Commission revised upwards by 0.3 percentage points (p.p.) the economic growth expected for Portugal this year, to 5.8%, despite external challenges, according to the spring macroeconomic forecasts.

This is the highest value among the 27 EU Member States, followed by Ireland (5.4%), and well above the average for the European bloc and the eurozone, both with growth projections of just 2.7% this year.

Brussels forecasts that Portugal's GDP will grow by 5.8% in 2022, when in February it expected a 5.5% expansion, with the services sector, particularly foreign tourism, recovering strongly from a low base.

The European Commission report notes that "growth prospects remain favourable, despite challenges related to commodity prices, global supply chains and greater uncertainty in external demand".