Paolo Gentiloni
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Brussels downplays Portugal’s delay in revising Recovery and Resilience plan

“We have technical delays in many countries” – Paolo Gentiloni

The European Commission has not yet received Portugal’s revised Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) for reprogramming funds and projects but says it does not foresee any “specific problems”.

“We have technical delays in the implementation [of recovery plans] in many countries, but I do not see specific problems, either for debt sustainability or for the RRP,” said European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni.

Responding to a question from Lusa at a press conference to present the spring economic forecasts in Brussels, Gentiloni said that the European Commission is “cooperating with the Portuguese authorities”.

Veerle Nuyts, the spokeswoman for economic and financial affairs for the Community executive, said “Portugal has not yet presented a revised plan”.

The Portuguese government has already revealed it is in talks with the European Commission for the reprogramming of the RRP in terms of funds and adaptation of projects, hoping that it will be completed this year.

A source connected to the process explained to Lusa that Portugal should first conclude the renegotiation of the plan with the European Commission, including the chapter on investments in the REPowerEU energy package, before presenting the next payment request.

So far, Portugal has already received the first two payments, amounting to €1.82 billion in February 2023 and 1.16 billion euros in May 2022, plus €2.2 billion of pre-financing in August 2021, amounts that include grants and loans.

The country has so far raised 31% of the total funds, amounting to €5.14 billion.

Such disbursements come after the EU executive deemed that Portugal has met the 52 stages and six targets linked to its first and second payment requests.

The Portuguese RRP has a total allocation of €16.6 billion, €13.9 billion in grants and €2.7 billion in loans.

The Recovery and Resilience Mechanism came into force in the EU in February 2021 to mitigate the economic and social impact of the covid-19 pandemic.

Last week, a report by the Public Finance Council (CFP) revealed that the implementation of the RRP approached €800 million in 2022, remaining “far below the forecast”.

“In the second year of the RRP’s implementation, the 2022 execution approached €800 million (0.3% of GDP), less than a quarter of what was foreseen in the OE2022 [State Budget for 2022],” indicated the report on the CFP’s “Budgetary Evolution of Public Administrations in 2022″.

According to the body, public investment financed by the RRP amounted to €290 million of the €1.216 billion forecast in the 2022 budget.”