Juncker Plan: Portugal “manifestly behind” in race for European funds

European commissioner Carlos Moedas is in Lisbon today to try and impress the need on the government to get cracking with bids for the celebrated “Juncker Plan” – the €315 billion fund to power investment in infrastructures and support small and medium sized businesses.

As Público explains, Portugal is “manifestly behind” in the race for its slice of the action. No plan has been approved, and the line of finance available to small and medium sized companies has only been “partially used”.

Euro MP José Manuel Fernandes agrees that “no country is obliged to candidate for this support. But if no bids appear, projects will not get financed”.

Portugal’s dearth of action is down to government sloth, suggests construction industry boss Reis Campos.

“We look at projects from countries like the UK, Spain, France or Germany and we cannot say that their need to construct infrastructures, hospitals or railway lines is more urgent than ours. But they have projects approved, and we don’t. Portugal is much too slow in these matters. The government is slow.”

Thus Moedas’ trip here today, with the vice-president of the European Investment Bank Román Escolano in tow.

The pair aim to raise awareness of all the funds available (for Portugal this could bring aid of €31.5 billion, or 10%) and try and explain how the scheme works.

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