Portugal’s minister of planning, Nelson de Souza, said on Wednesday (26 February) that member states that have their recovery and resilience plans approved by April should receive the first funds by June.
The minister stressed that the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union had set the main objectives of bringing the recovery and resilience regulation and the structural funds package into force.
The regulation of the recovery and resilience package was published on 18 February, which will allow the formal presentation of the plans of each member state, he said.
De Souza also said that the 27 needed to conclude the decision-making process on own resources, and the presidency hoped that this could be completed by mid-April.
“By the end of April, the conditions will have been created for the European Commission to issue the debt to finance the ‘Next Generation EU’ package, that is, to contract and pay for this recovery plan,” he said.
Regarding the structural funds, De Souza said that the respective regulation was a “closed dossier” and that it would be approved “definitively” by the Council in April.
If this happens, “we will fully achieve [the goal] of bringing the European instruments to the field that will allow us, in each State, to implement recovery and resilience instruments and structural funds during the Portuguese Presidency”, he added.
On 10 February, EURACTIV’s partner Lusa quoted a European Commission source as saying that eight EU member states had yet to submit their national recovery and resilience plans to the EU executive.
A source linked to the process told Lusa that these eight countries are Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Malta and Estonia.
The European Commission has also warned that member states should include more specific milestones and targets and more ambitious reforms in their recovery plans to access the unprecedented stimulus package to combat the COVID pandemic.