Portugal will hold a high-level summit in Lisbon on 21 June focused on the recovery plans of the 27 EU member states, defending “smart fiscal policies” in response to the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic.
In a debate on Wednesday (10 March) at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Brussels, Portugal’s secretary of state for European affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, stressed that an appropriate balance between investments and structural reforms was needed to support the recovery.
Speaking on behalf of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU, Zacarias confirmed Portugal’s intention to organise a “recovery summit” in Lisbon on 21 June, a conference to discuss the prospects of the current economic and financial situation.
She noted that EU member states are currently working on recovery and resilience plans, including their reform and investment agenda, in line with the four dimensions of environmental sustainability, productivity, equity, and macroeconomic stability, to access post-crisis EU funds.
“The Portuguese presidency is fully committed to this process. We hope to reach the end of our six-month term with all the national plans duly approved, as well as with the own resources decision ratified by all member states,” Zacarias said.
Zacarias added that the necessary measures to support people and the economy should be maintained as long as necessary, promoting cohesion and convergence within the 27-member bloc.
At the beginning of the month, the European Commission expressed its support for prolonging the suspension of EU rules on budgetary discipline in 2022 in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, while reserving a definitive decision for May.
The EU executive’s position is in line with the wishes of many member states like Portugal, which advocated that the flexible application of the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) be maintained next year.
European Commission executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis, who oversees the European semester of economic policy coordination, stressed that functional fiscal rules are needed more than ever in the current crisis.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]