210216Psb 3


Now is the time for all Member States to finalise their national recovery plans

16 Feb · 14h20

Informal video conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Pedro Sá Bandeira

At the second ECOFIN meeting of the Portuguese Presidency, Minister João Leão welcomed last week’s approval of the regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which is expected to come into force on 19 February. From then on, Member States will be able to begin officially submitting their recovery and resilience plans to the Commission. This means the countries can now start channelling all their efforts into the presentation of plans for the resumption of sustainable and socially inclusive growth.

“ It is of prime importance to finalise the national recovery and resilience plans efficiently and comprehensively, in order to allow for a positive assessment and the speedy disbursement of the funds needed. ”

João Leão, Portuguese Minister of State for Finance

APS 8484

João Leão, Minister of State for Finance © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / António Pedro Santos/Lusa

The Presidency reminded the Ministers that the Member States must ratify the Own Resources Decision, adopted by the Council in December, so that they will be able to use this instrument. Six countries have already concluded the ratification process and “the majority of the other Member States are doing their best to have done so by March, so that this process can be concluded by April”, said João Leão. “Now is the time for Member States to focus all their attention on submitting plans that promote sustainable and socially inclusive growth”, he added.

Recalling the motto of the Portuguese Presidency – “Time to deliver” – the Minister of Finance reaffirmed the four main goals inherent to the recovery plans:

  • Help citizens and companies exit the crisis
  • Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050
  • Guide economies towards the digital transition
  • Make Europe more resilient
APS 8472

Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission Executive Vice-President, and João Leão, Minister of State for Finance, at the press conference after the informal video conference of Finance Ministers © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / António Pedro Santos/Lusa

Economies should start showing signs of recovery in March

The meeting of the European Union Finance Ministers benefited from an overview from the European Commission of the projections for Winter 2021 and a presentation from the European Central Bank on issues related to financial stability. The Ministers reflected on the current situation and economic perspectives, while also looking at the implementation of the measures agreed on last year as part of the European Union response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“ All projections are currently subject to a high degree of uncertainty, but we expect our economies to start showing signs of substantial recovery between the second and third quarters of the year. ”

João Leão, Portuguese Minister of State for Finance

The Commission spoke to the Ministers about borrowing operations with SURE, the European temporary support instrument for mitigating the risk of unemployment in the event of an emergency. Investors showed a great deal of interest in the bonds, which is why they attained favourable price levels.