"We want an agreement for everyone, but there are other options". It was with this phrase that the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, answered the question about whether it would be possible to reach an agreement for the Next Generation EU with only 25 countries, after Hungary and Poland had vetoed it on the 16th Of this month.
In an exclusive interview with RTP, von der Leyen underlined that "the Commission is determined and I am very confident that we will be able to execute Next Generation EU", the European recovery and resilience program to stimulate the economies of the European Union.
The Next Generation EU, the European 'bazooka' of 750 billion euros, is included in the European budget 2021-2027 and, since it is subject to respect for the rule of law, was vetoed by Hungary and Poland, thus jeopardizing its execution due to the unanimous approval of the 27.
Under the Next Generation EU, Portugal will receive around 29 billion euros in loans and non-repayable grants, stressed Ursula von Der Leyen tonight.
Portugal, which has already delivered the first version of the Recovery and Resilience Plan - the document that implements European bazooka funds - was praised by the President of the European Commission. “I remember when the first draft was presented and it was a very positive experience. I was impressed to see how thoughtful the Recovery and Resilience Plan is. I am confident that the Recovery and Resilience Plan will be well received ”.
The President of the European Commission said that, as of tomorrow, the Portuguese Government will have at its disposal three billion euros to help employment, under the SURE program.
“This program tells companies not to fire, even if there is not much work. We will provide wage subsidies through SURE, so that healthy companies are able to stay in business and, when the crisis is over and the market resumes, they can handle orders because they will have human capital in companies. That's what SURE's three billion euros are for, and the total package for Portugal is 5,9 billion euros ”.
Regarding the health crisis, von der Leyen stressed that “there is light at the end of the tunnel”, at a time when vaccines against Covid-19 are expected to reach the market. “The European Commission has signed six contracts for vaccines, so we have an extensive portfolio. And, if all goes well, we can have the first vaccination at the end of this year and gradually increase it. With vaccination, we will eradicate the virus ”.