Portugal’s prime minister announced €43 billion of public infrastructure investment on Thursday (22 October), including a high-speed rail link between Lisbon and the country’s second largest city, Porto, to be carried out by 2030.
Investments will focus on transport and energy, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said, with a total of €21.7 billion earmarked for transport projects and €13 billion directed towards clean energy projects largely centred around hydrogen production.
The much-anticipated high-speed rail connection is projected to cost €4.5 billion, with another two billion euros set aside for expansion of deepwater ports in Sines, Leixoes and Lisbon.
The plan, already approved by parliament, is due to be implemented from January 1, 2021, financed with €12 billion from the national budget, another €12 billion from European structural funds, €3.3 billion from recovery funds and €14.2 billion from private investment, Costa said.
“Economic development involves an increase in the production of tradeable goods and services, giving us greater external competitiveness and increasing exports,” Costa said at a news conference.
Portugal’s government predicted that the country’s gross domestic product, projected to fall by 8.5% in 2020 – the worst recession in nearly a century – will bounce back with 5.4% growth in 2021.
Exports are expected to increase by 10.9% after a sobering 22% drop in 2020, with investment expected to grow 5.3% after this year’s 7.4% fall.
In 2019, the economy grew 2.2%, helping Portugal to reach its first budget surplus in 45 years, equivalent to 0.1% of GDP.