Portugal to receive 20 billion euros from European Union

OVER THE next six years, Portugal is to get 20 billion euros from European Union community funds.

It means that Portugal can count on around 9.8 million euros a day, which will be matched by a total Portuguese government and private sector investment of 44 billion euros for the next six years.

Last week various protocols within the National Strategic Reference Plan (Quadro de Referência Estratégica Nacional – QREN), which sets out the level of total investment in the country for the coming years was signed in Lisbon by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso.

The government says that it will use its budget for the coming years in education, training and professional development, which, according to the Prime Minister José Sócrates, who counter-signed the documents, represents 37 per cent of total funds or six billion euros.

The government’s new investment cycle also includes investment in productivity and completing 65 per cent of its goals and projects for the next six years.

The Prime Minister also announced that 65 per cent of the QREN monies “were spoken for in obtaining the objectives laid out in the Lisbon Strategy signed in 2000 when Portugal last held the Presidency of the European Union.

The Lisbon Strategy aimed to raise the technological, economic and productive capacity of European companies and industries in line with the United States by 2010 by investing heavily in high technology, training, education and modernisation schemes to help countries like Portugal become more productive and competitive in a world of globalization.

Reacting to the new slice of funds from the European Union cash cake, the President of the Republic, Cavaco Silva said it provided “a great opportunity” and said he hoped that the Portuguese government would “make the necessary effort and force to get Portugal on an economic par with the richest European Union countries by 2013.”

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