EC wants to see budget a month before it is adopted

  • ECO News e Lusa
  • 24 November 2021

The European Commission warned that the new "submission should take place at least one month before the national parliament will adopt the new budget."

The European Commission wants Portugal to submit its draft 2022 budget one month before the document is adopted by parliament and has asked the Portuguese authorities to disclose it “in due time”.

“In a letter sent on November 15 2021, the Commission invited the Portuguese authorities to present a draft budget plan as soon as a government presents the Portuguese parliament with a new draft law on the 2022 budget,” the EU executive said in the communication released on Wednesday on the overall assessment of ‘draft’ budgets of eurozone countries.

In the Portuguese case, “the Commission has not adopted an opinion on the draft budget submitted by Portugal since the draft budget on which Portugal’s plan was based was rejected by its parliament,” the Commission said.

Brussels warned, however, that the new “submission should take place at least one month before the national parliament will adopt the new budget.

At stake is the “autumn package” of economic and budgetary policy coordination, published today by the EU executive and includes opinions on member states’ budget plans for 2022, but not that of Portugal, which the Commission does not expect to receive until March.

On 9 November, at a meeting of EU finance ministers (Ecofin) in Brussels, Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis confirmed that the Commission would wait for the future Portuguese government to present a new budget plan for 2022 before issuing its opinion, and admitted having a new document only in March.

Asked on that date about Portugal’s situation, the commissioner with the portfolio of “An Economy at the Service of People” said he had had the opportunity to address the issue with the finance minister, João Leão, and that Brussels would wait for a new draft budget to be sent by the government that will be formed after the 30 January elections, and therefore will not issue an opinion this month.

Dombrovskis then revealed that, according to “an indicative timetable that has been provided to ministers, this could be the case in March next year”.

Brussels today unveiled its “autumn package”, the second in a row to be adopted by the Commission with the fiscal discipline rules of the Stability and Growth Pact suspended to allow member states to cope with the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.