The week kicked off with the Prime Minister hearing the various parties represented in parliament at his São Bento residence, with a view to firming up the first proposal for the country’s Recovery and Resilience Programme, to be applied from early 2021 through to 2030.
Prime Minister António Costa has described the EU funding as a “unique opportunity” but which will require “a clear strategy set in ample political and social consensus” to be successful.
He further argued that the execution of the plan should unfurl in a decentralised fashion, “involving the full scope of economic, social, academic, cultural and public administration actors: the state, autonomous regions and authorities”.
The outline of the draft unveiled on 21 September reportedly drew criticism from left to right, but the political forces that be did show availability to make contributions.
While some parties argued that the focus of the plan should be on companies, others pointed out that hiring health professionals is a priority.
As well as hearing the parties with parliamentary representation, António Costa this week also met with the Economic and Social Council and the Territorial Consultation Council on 22 September, for their views on the matter.
This was followed by a themed debate on the Recovery and Resilience Plan in Parliament on 23 September, which started at 3pm and lasted for approximately two hours, being opened by the Prime Minister.
Three key priorities have been set out in the draft as fundamental for overcoming the crippling effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic, these being categorised as ‘Resilience’, ‘Climate Transition’ and ‘Digital Transition’.
This comes after Brussels last week slashed the amount allocated in its post-Covid recovery plan to Portugal by 2 billion, down from 15 billion to 13 billion.
According to the preliminary draft, Eco Online reports, the fattest wedge of the subsidies would be ploughed into the ‘Resilience’ block, which covers Social Vulnerabilities, Productive Potential, and Competitiveness and Territorial Cohesion.
The Recovery and Resilience Programme is based on a 142-page document titled ‘Strategic Vision for Portugal 2020-2030 economic and social recovery plan’, penned by government consultant António Costa Silva.
Portugal has been ambitious with its Recovery plan and aims to be the first country to submit it, to ensure funds are released as early as possible.
Prime Minister António Costa said this week it is essential that the European Union approves the plan and regulations, but the country must put it to work quickly.
The European Commission expects Member States to submit a draft recovery plan by 15 October, with final versions being sent by 30 April of next year.