EU chief signs off on Spain, Portugal recovery plans - RTHK
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EU chief signs off on Spain, Portugal recovery plans

2021-06-17 HKT 00:44
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  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hands Portugal's recovery fund document to Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa. Photo: AP
    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hands Portugal's recovery fund document to Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa. Photo: AP
Spain and Portugal became the first EU countries to win Brussels' approval on Wednesday for their recovery plans seeking funding from the bloc's multi-billion-euro coronavirus rescue fund.

"The European Commission has decided to give its green light to Spain's recovery and resilience plan," commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in Madrid, just hours after she signed off on the Portuguese plan.

Spain, whose economy has been particularly badly hit by the pandemic, will be the second-biggest beneficiary of the landmark 750-billion-euro (US$910-billion) recovery plan, Next Generation EU, which was drawn up nearly a year ago.

"These reforms, I'm deeply convinced, will make Spain come out of the pandemic stronger than ever before," Von der Leyen said, noting that 40 percent of the funds would be driven into the green transition.

"That is enormous," she said, hailing the plan as "ambitious" and "far-sighted".

"Next Generation EU is our unique chance to move forward into a more green, a more digital, a more sustainable society."

Spain is to receive 140 billion euros in funding. Half of the funds will be grants and the other half loans. Spain has pledged to invest a large part of it into the green transition.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said it was "a historic day for Spain" but also for Europe "because the plans approved today for Portugal and Spain open the door to a new way of .. cooperating together and responding to the challenges we face as societies." (AFP)