The European Commission has endorsed a positive preliminary assessment of Portugal’s payment request for €1.16 billion, of which €553.44 million of grants and €609 million of loans under the RRF, the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU.
On 25 January, Portugal announced reforms in the areas of health, social housing, social services, investment and innovation, qualifications and skills, forestry, the blue economy, bio-economy, renewable gases (including hydrogen), public finances and public administration. Several targets also concern investments in the areas of infrastructure, decarbonisation of industry and digital education.
With their request, the Portuguese authorities provided detailed and comprehensive evidence demonstrating the fulfilment of the 38 milestones and targets. The Commission has thoroughly assessed this information before presenting its positive preliminary assessment of the payment request.
The Portuguese plan a wide range of investment and reform measures in 20 thematic components. The plan will be supported by €13.9 billion in grants and €2.7 billion in loans, 13% of which (€2.2 billion) was disbursed to Portugal in pre-financing on 3 August 2021.
Payments under the RRF are performance-based and contingent on Member States implementing the investments and reforms outlined in their respective recovery and resilience plans.
The Commission has now sent its positive preliminary assessment of Portugal’s fulfilment of the milestones and targets required for this payment to the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC), asking for its opinion. The EFC’s opinion, to be delivered within a maximum of four weeks, should be taken into account in the Commission’s assessment. Following the EFC’s opinion, the Commission will adopt the final decision on the disbursement of the financial contribution, in accordance with the examination procedure, through a comitology committee. Following the adoption of the decision by the Commission, the disbursement to Portugal can take place.
The Commission will assess further payment requests by Portugal based on the fulfilment of the milestones and targets outlined in the Council Implementing Decision, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today, Portugal has taken a major step on its road to recovery. It has made good progress in the implementation of its recovery plan with transformative reforms and ambitious investments in health, social housing and industry decarbonisation. Portugal will therefore now receive €1.16 billion under NextGenerationEU. The Commission stands by your side: on our way to recovery.”
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People said: “Today marks another major step forward in strengthening Europe’s resilience as Portugal achieves the first milestones and targets set out in its recovery and resilience plan – congratulations! Many of these will contribute to the green and digital transitions, such as improvements to housing – including energy-efficient renovations – as well as measures to digitalise public administration and the education system. Once the Commission’s assessment is reviewed and approved by Member States, Portugal should receive €1.16 billion in grants and loans to help it make its economy more inclusive, competitive and resilient for the future.”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “Today’s positive assessment is testament to Portugal’s commitment to the Recovery and Resilience Facility, having been the first country to submit its plan last year. Portugal has made an impressive start to its ambitious recovery and resilience plan, successfully implementing the 38 milestones and targets linked to its first payment request. On top of the focus on the twin green and digital transition, the request reflects the strong social dimension of the plan, with reforms to combat poverty, support the inclusion of persons with disability and a mental health decree law, to mention but a few. Once the relevant procedures are finalised, we will be able to make a payment of EUR 1.16 billion, supporting Portugal in its recovery.”