António Costa relaxed about RRP implementation

  • Lusa
  • 7 November 2022

The Portuguese prime minister expressed his tranquillity with the pace of implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP).

Portugal’s prime minister expressed on Monday his tranquillity with the pace of implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) and stressed that those with executive responsibilities should fulfil the plan without anxiety and without worrying about feeding the news.

This overview of the evolution of the implementation of community funds in Portugal was supported by António Costa, speaking to journalists in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, during his first of two days of participation in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27).

Confronted with warnings from the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and other political leaders about delays in the execution of European funds by Portugal, particularly at the level of the RRP, the leader of the Portuguese government assured that he is following this process “very calmly”.

“A programme to be executed by the end of 2026 is not to be concluded at the end of 2022. It is to be fulfilled in the exact terms in which it was contracted and programmed – and so it is happening,” he stressed.

António Costa then established a difference between executive and supervisory functions.

“Whoever manages and has executive responsibilities must plan and execute according to the plan, without living in anxieties, nor with the concern of giving or making news for the news. Our concern must be to execute these funds well. And those whose job it is to oversee the work of others should fulfil this function”, he pointed out.

In this context, he referred to the supervisory entities, starting with the Court of Auditors, “which checks whether the funds are or are not being well used”.

“It is natural that the Inspectorate General of Finance does this and that the president of Portugal also does this. Whoever is audited must find it normal to be audited. But what you should do is not be distracted by the inspections and concentrate on actions. This is what executives are for: to act, to make things happen”, he stressed.

The prime minister told reporters that the timetable for implementation of the RRP “is provided for in the contract itself, it has dates – and for each date, there are targets and milestones”.

“The way to check whether it is advanced or delayed is if we meet the targets and the milestones. Now, about the first set, the European Commission has not only already validated but has already paid accordingly. He said that the second set has already been delivered in Brussels, and the European Commission is validating it,” he said.

So far, from António Costa’s perspective, “there have not been any difficulties”, and Brussels “will surely proceed to pay the second tranche shortly”.

“And we will continue to work to fulfil the third, fourth, fifth and all successive tranches so that by 31 December 2026, we will have impeccably executed the RRP,” he added.

According to the prime minister, about the first stage, Portugal “has met all the targets and milestones, and the European Commission has made the first payment”.

“We have now concluded the second cycle of targets and milestones, we have presented it to the European Commission, and it is currently under verification. So I am convinced that the European Commission will pay the second tranche of that programme between November and December. Therefore, we have been executing according to the proper rhythm in which the programs have to be executed,” reinforced António Costa.

Also, about the RRP, the prime minister emphasised that “a large part is to be executed not directly by the state but by companies, municipalities, Private Social Solidarity Institutions (IPSS) or non-governmental organisations”.

“And everyone is mobilised so that it can be executed. Last Friday, the minister of the presidency [Mariana Vieira da Silva] had the opportunity to announce that the first €1 billion had been paid and was being executed. Therefore, the country can rest assured of our collective ability to implement the RRP,” he added.