Asked during a press conference in Brussels about the rejection of OE2022, on Wednesday, by the Assembly of the Republic, which paves the way for early legislative elections, the executive vice-president responsible for «An Economy at the Service of People» admitted that this this situation “raises questions”, which the community executive will try to clarify with the Portuguese Government.
"We will now have to assess the situation with the Portuguese authorities regarding the draft budget plan for 2022 and decide how to proceed, in the sense that we need to understand with the Portuguese authorities what the prospects are, how soon the next budget may arrive", declared Dombrovskis.
The vice president assumed that there are now doubts around the assessment of the budget plan that Portugal delivered in mid-October in Brussels, since, given its rejection by the Portuguese parliament, it is necessary to determine “what exactly there is to assess”, and he pointed out the possibility of Brussels and Lisbon holding “some discussions based on unchanged policy scenarios”, the one that is resorted to when, for some reason, a Member State cannot present its budget plan within the established deadlines.
“For this reason, this will require some consultations with the Portuguese authorities to find a concrete way for us to move forward”, he stressed.
As for the implications of the failure of OE2022 and the scenario of dissolution of parliament and a call for early elections in the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), especially given the fragility of an outgoing executive, the Executive Vice President of the Commission highlighted that “the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism is a performance-based instrument”, and nothing changes that principle.
“From the Commission's side, we can be very clear, as it is also clear in the regulation, that disbursements are linked to the achievement of concrete objectives and targets, and that continues to be the case,” he said.
What happened with the budget?
On 27 October, the parliament failed the State Budget for 2022 with votes against by the PSD, BE, PCP, CDS-PP, PEV, Chega and IL, paving the way for early legislative elections.
The PS was the only party to vote in favour of the budget proposal, which deserved the abstentions of the PAN party and the two non-registered deputies, Joacine Katar Moreira and Cristina Rodrigues.
Before the vote, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, had already warned that in the face of an OE2022 rejection, he would start "soon, right after the process" dissolving the parliament and calling early legislative elections.
Hours later, Marcelo met with the prime minister, António Costa, and the president of parliament, Ferro Rodrigues, at the Palácio de Belém, in Lisbon.
The anticipated legislatives must take place within 60 days following the dissolution of the parliament and must be scheduled at the same time, in accordance with article 113 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.
To dissolve the Assembly of the Republic, the President has to hear the parliamentary parties, which happens on Saturday, and the Council of State, which meets on Wednesday.