Portugal presented a first draft of its national recovery and resilience plan (RRP), alongside a broader 2030 National Investment Plan, already in October 2020. Our analysis is based on an updated version of the draft RRP that was presented for public consultation in February 2021, and our database of individual recovery investments has been updated according to the final RRP released in April 2021. Overall, Portugal’s recovery measures, with a total spending of €16.6bn, or 8% of Portugal’s GDP, have the potential to make a positive contribution to the green transition depending on their implementation.
Positive measures include investments into industrial decarbonization, public transport, and energy efficiency. At the same time, the plan includes some problematic investments, especially in road infrastructure, and has been criticized for this by the European Commission. Lastly, it includes many measures whose climate mitigation effect cannot yet be assessed and depends on their implementation, such as investments into new housing projects and industrial development. Notably, the draft RRP does not offer many concrete links between its projects and the broader agenda of the 2030 National Investment Plan or wider climate policy goals.
We find that Portugal’s recovery plan (RRP) achieves a green spending share of 17%, below the EU’s 37% climate spending benchmark. In contrast, 3.5% of all measures have a negative impact. Furthermore, we find that 42% may have a positive or negative impact on the green transition depending on the implementation of the relevant measures, illustrating the importance of further scrutiny during the further planning, review and implementation of the recovery measures.
*Our analysis is based on the updated draft Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) that was released in February 2021. Our database of individual recovery investments has subsequently been updated according to the investment amounts of the updated and final RRP released in April 2021. The report was written by Felix Heilmann, Artur Patuleia and Alexander Reitzenstein (all E3G) as well as Jacqueline Klingen (Wuppertal Institute). We are grateful to Bárbara Maurício (ZERO) as well as Helena Mölter and Timon Wehnert (Wuppertal Institute) for their support.
Portugal’s RRP includes a total of €615m of investments into forest management and cultivation. This measure, which will be implemented by the Environment and Climate Ministry, is presented as an important resilience measure for rural territories, combining climate change mitigation and long-term resilience, even though its overall funding falls short of the overall investment needs previously identified for this area.
Portugal’s Recovery Plan includes significant investments into the country’s road infrastructure, with many of these measures aiming to expand the national road network. These include the expansion of cross-border road links with Spain although there are already six cross-border highways, as opposed to only two poorly served cross-border rail connections for passengers. In March 2021, the European Commission has criticized the inclusion of these projects.
Portugal included a program for industry decarbonization in its Recovery Plan, the first time the government referred explicitly to industry decarbonization in an investment plan.