€10.7Bn EU bazooka funds for 2023

 In News, Portugal 2030, Portugal RRP, Portugal2020

The Portuguese government will have €10.7Bn at its disposal to help modernise Portugal’s companies and institutions.

Some €3.5Bn will come from PT2020, which must be used up by the end of this year, a further €3Bn from Portugal 2030 (these are EU grants resulting from a partnership agreement between Portugal and the European Commission to fund projects of strategic importance to the economy that should be applied between 2021 and 2027 with a total of €23Bn for the period).
The Government will also receive €4.2Bn from the Portugal Recovery and Resilience (RRP) plan. The total value available represents 4.6% of Portugal’s GDP, contrasting with the usual 1.5% that governments have available each year.
It means that the Portuguese government must apply an unprecedented amount of community funds this year for different projects submitted via competitive tendering applications from consortia, including using up remaining funds on projects from PT2020 this year.
Anything that is not used by this year will have to be refunded to Brussels – a real risk for the first time ever.
Portugal’s Recovery and Resilience Plan requires the government to meet 26 targets and 30 milestones in order to receive the third and fourth tranches of the ‘bazooka’ funding.
At the same time Portugal must also launch the first official competitions for projects to be funded from Portugal 2030.
Up until now funds have been paid via a front loading mechanism. The first competitions will only be launched in the second quarter because the Government has had to extend the front loading mechanism to 31 March.
But there has been an avalanche of criticisms, including from the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who in his 2023 address referred to the opportunities for Portugal from European Union funding.
“It would be unpardonable if the country let slip the billions of euros (almost €11Bn available on strict time limits, (so strict in fact that investments in Portugal 2020 which still have €3.5Bn to be spent must be applied or refunded) have to start taking place at a rate of €1Bn per month if the money is not be lost according to TV commentator Luís Marques Mendes.
The president has warned that this year will be decisive, because if the country wastes all the opportunities at its disposal, there will be nothing like them coming next year, the year after or in 2026.
A wasted 2023 will also “compromise all the following years” because it is the only year up until 2026 when there are not national elections of some form or the other. (European elections in 2024, municipal elections in 2025 and a general election in 2026)