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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Country 'on track' for clean energy, digital future - EC president




Brussels, Sept.28,2020 (Lusa) - The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has said that she sees Portugal as on the "right track" to achieve a future of clean energy and high tech, and that it should now seize the "unique opportunity" of EU recovery funds in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic to consolidate this.
"Even before the pandemic, Portugal was on the right track to secure a cleaner energy mix and greater digitalisation," von der Leyen said in an interview with Lusa on the eve of her first official visit to Portugal as president of the EU executive.
As the deadline for member states to outline to the commission their priorities for the money they are to receive from the 'Next Generation EU' fund - the post-crisis recovery fund proposed by its executive and agreed by EU member states at a lengthy summit in July, von der Leyen recalled that the commission "has published detailed guidelines to help member states prepare their national recovery plans." These guidelines, she added in written answers to Lusa's questions, have "a clear focus on future issues of climate protection, digitalisation and a more resilient economy."
The fund, she stressed, is therefore "a unique opportunity" for Portugal and other EU member states to "design change" for the coming years.
"As regards the national plans, we will work together to ensure that they contribute to the ecological and digital transitions and to strengthen the economic and social resilience of each Member State by promoting job creation and its growth potential," she wrote.
Under the agreement reached in July, Portugal is to receive €15.3 billion in grants, including €13.2 billion between now and 2023 via the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the fund's main instrument.
Plans for spending moneys from the facility may be sent by member states to the commission from mid-October, after which it has two months to evaluate them.
Portugal's government has said that it wants the country to be among the first to have its recovery and resilience plan "submitted, discussed and approved", in order to access European funds from early 2021.
Among the government's stated priorities are strengthening the country's health systems, investing in infrastructure and industrial and economic capacity, improving territorial cohesion and the ability to compete internationally, achieving a climate transition and reforming public administration.
Von der Leyen is to arrive in Lisbon on Monday for a two-day visit, the first since she took over as commission president in December 2019.
On Tuesday she is to attend a session at the Champalimaud Foundation, along with the prime minister, António Costa, at which they are to present the EU and Portuguese recovery plans, respectively.
Before the session, Costa and von der Leyen are to pay a visit to the Ricardo Jorge Institute, an institution that has been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 in Portugal.
During her time in Portugal, von der Leyen is also to take part, at the invitation of Portugal's president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in a meeting of his Council of State on Tuesday that is to discuss the situation and future of Europe.
In her written interview with Lusa, von der Leyen said thta she was "very honoured by the invitation" from de Sousa to visit Portugal, and also that was "looking forward" to participating in the Council of State.

ANE/ARO // ARO.
Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-09-29 09:20:00







 

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