Questions and answers: European Commission endorses Portugal’s €16.6 billion recovery and resilience plan

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


How did the Commission assess Portugal’s recovery and resilience plan?

The Regulation ensures a transparent assessment on the basis of 11 criteria against the back of the six pillars of the Regulation. The 11 criteria require an assessment of whether:

  • the measures have a lasting impact;
  • the measures address the challenges identified in the country specific recommendations or a significant subset of it;
  • the milestones and targets which allow for monitoring the progress with the reforms and investments are clear and realistic;
  • the plans meet the 37% climate expenditure target and the 20% digital expenditure target;
  • the plans respect the do no significant harm principle;
  • the plans provide an adequate control and audit mechanism and set out the plausibility of the costing information.

The Commission has summarised its assessment in the proposal for the Council implementing decision. The accompanying staff-working document provides detailed documentation on the assessment.

Does Portugal’s recovery and resilience plan effectively support the green transition?

The Portuguese plan’s contribution to the green transition amounts to 38% of its total allocation of €16.6 billion. This is in excess of the minimum of 37% required by the RRF Regulation.

Of the 20 components in the plan, 16 include expenditure that contributes to the climate objectives. Large climate contributions are provided by measures that support the energy-efficiency of residential, public and service buildings across the country. Investments in sustainable urban transport will help reduce emissions, such as metro expansions in Lisbon and Porto or new electric and hydrogen buses for public transport.

Measures for adaptation to climate change, in the area of forest management and fire prevention, for example, also support the plan’s climate objectives.

Some measures also enhance biodiversity, for example through better forest management or the promotion of a sustainable blue economy.

Does Portugal’s recovery and resilience plan effectively contribute to the digital transition?

The Portuguese plan’s contribution to the digital transition amounts to 22% of its total allocation of €16.6 billion. The Commission considers that the plan meets the digital target of 20%.

Overall, 14 of 20 components contain measures that contribute to the digital transition in areas like professional qualifications and competences, modernisation of the health system, culture, forest preservation and protection, R&D, social responses and infrastructures.

Measures cover actions such as training programmes on digital skills and advanced technologies, the digitalisation of educational resources, modernisation of the IT infrastructure of the public administration (including investment on digitalisation of health and justice), support and coaching provided to firms so as to help them adopt advanced technologies. It also includes measures to digitalise business processes with e-invoices and actions to increase trust on the use of new technologies, and connectivity investments in schools and business districts.

Measures will also support the integration of digital technologies in the primary and secondary education system with the use of digital resources in classrooms, the digitalisation of educational contents, the creation of laboratories with educational technologies like programmable robots.

Does the recovery and resilience plan represent a balanced response to Portugal’s economic and social situation?

The Commission considers that the Portuguese plan represents a comprehensive and adequately balanced response to the economic and social situation, thereby contributing appropriately to all six pillars referred to in Article 3 of the RRF Regulation.

The plan includes a broad range of climate related measures, with around three quarters of all components contributing to the green transition. Such measures include increasing the energy-efficiency of buildings, decarbonising industry, and adapting to climate change.

The plan addresses digital related challenges in multiple areas, with almost three quarters of all components contributing, including the digitalisation of public services and the adoption of digital technologies to promote entrepreneurship, and business scale-up with a view to boost the digital transition of the productive fabric.

It includes significant measures to address social vulnerabilities, which also have an important territorial dimension (they cover also the outermost autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores), such as strengthening health care and long-term care systems, and providing access to affordable social housing.

Social issues will also be addressed through the provision of a wide range of social services focusing on the elderly and people with disabilities, and integrated programmes to support disadvantaged communities in deprived metropolitan areas. The plan strengthens public transport networks in urban areas, which is particularly relevant for disadvantaged commuting workers, and reinforces labour rights, especially for atypical labour contracts linked to the digital economy. These measures address a number of principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Important measures are targeted at children and youth, such as measures to raise the capacity of kindergartens and childcare services and favour the creation of permanent quality jobs for young people. The plan will also promote the enrolment in tertiary education courses, especially in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, and establish a network of higher education institutions offering post-graduate courses of short duration.

Do the reforms effectively address all or a significant subset of the relevant country-specific recommendations issued to Portugal in the context of the European Semester?

The Portuguese plan includes an extensive set of mutually reinforcing reforms and investments that contribute to effectively addressing all or a significant subset of the economic and social challenges outlined in the country-specific recommendations addressed to Portugal by the Council in the European Semester in 2019 and in 2020.

The plan includes key fiscal-structural reforms that have the potential to substantially improve the quality of public finances and strengthen overall expenditure control, cost efficiency and adequate budgeting.

It also includes reforms to enhance the sustainability and resilience of the health system, including in primary, mental and long-term care.

Reforms are included to boost the skills of the workforce, with a focus on digital skills, on increasing the relevance of adult learning in order to meet the needs of the labour market and on increasing the number of graduates, in particular in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

The plan addresses social challenges by providing a significant response to improving the effectiveness and adequacy of the social safety nets, notably in social housing and in social services, with a focus on elderly, children and vulnerable groups.

In addition, the plan includes reforms that address long-lasting bottlenecks in the business environment (licensing and regulated professions) and that aim at modernising and increasing the efficiency of the judicial system.

There are also reforms to boost research and innovation and to recapitalise firms.

The plan includes reforms aimed at decarbonising the economy, such as measures to increase the energy efficiency of buildings, promote renewable energy and to protect forests to mitigate the impact of climate change.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

4 steps to developing responsible AI

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

5 crises that could worsen under COVID-19

CEOs as activists: should leaders speak up about social causes?

Refugee crisis update: Commission is struggling alone with little help from EU or G7 leaders

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Albinism, displacement in Central America, family-friendly nations, updates on the Gulf and Darfur

This city is planting a tree for every man, woman and child

Belgium: keep up reforms to increase employment and productivity growth

COVID-19 : Have we learnt any lessons at all from last year?

Our poisonous air is harming our children’s brains

UN human rights chief fears world has grown numb to Syrian carnage

The European Green Deal must be at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

China revisited by the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

Coronavirus: Team Europe continues to deliver with more than €26 billion disbursed in support to partner countries in one year

Thousands returning to Nigeria’s restive Borno state ‘at risk’; UN ‘gravely concerned’

Russia and the West use the same tactics to dismember Ukraine

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

Iraq: Solutions needed ‘urgently’ to quell ongoing violence, break political deadlock

Brexit: No deal without marginalizing the hard Tory Eurosceptic MPs

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

‘Bleakest period yet’ in Occupied Palestinian Territory: UN human rights expert

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

How do we upskill a billion people by 2030? Leadership and collaboration will be key

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

A fairer world requires fairer tech. Here’s why

The world’s coastal cities are going under. Here’s how some are fighting back

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

How has technology changed – and changed us – in the past 20 years?

The European Commission cuts roaming charges. But “it’s not enough”…

What have the banks done to the markets making them unable to bear cheap oil?

These 3 tech visionaries are reinventing the wheelchair

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

Environmental liability rules need revamping

Fall asleep in Vienna, wake up in Paris – Europe’s night trains make a comeback

Human rights champions from across the world receive top UN prize

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

From violence to dialogue: as land conflicts intensify, UN boosts efforts to resolve disputes through mediation

How data is transforming the way we care for the ocean

European Fund for Transition to support more workers made redundant

The European Council takes more measures to stem illegal migration

Commission initiates an investigation to decide whether to prolong the steel safeguard measure

What’s the difference between carbon negative and carbon neutral?

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

Illness in health workers: when the caregiver becomes the patient

Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

An entrepreneurial point-of view on tackling the migration crisis and the risks of abolishing Schengen

Victims’ Rights: New Strategy to empower victims

Why the global trade of chemicals is key to COVID-19 recovery

An electric motorbike could help tackle big game poaching. Here’s how

Changing world of work needs new jobs strategy

Same-sex marriages and partnerships should be recognised across the EU

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

To take or not to take – The Indian vaccination dilemma

Coronavirus global response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Iraq and new funding

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

Cross-roads

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: