EUR 1.2 billion. It is the package of European funds that the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) wants to inject into the regional economy in the coming years, through the support framework 2021-2027, doubling the investment of the current programs.
“We are going to work throughout this year so that, in the period 2021-2027, the region may have a doubling of European funds invested in its economic activities, in the activities of municipalities, in public investments. We have to mobilize the region and the economic agents in this ambition ”, considered the new president of CCDR / Algarve, José Apolinário, who took office in October, in a conversation with the media about the execution of community funds, held at the beginning of the week and that you want to repeat every two months.
The official listed that goal by remembering that this community support framework (2014-2020, running until 2023) encompasses a total of 577 million euros for the region, between the Regional Operational Program CRESC Algarve 2020 (POAlgarve) and the other programs national or cross-border structural measures.
In this way, 1.2 billion euros is the magic number for the Algarve, in the new support package from Brussels over the next decade.
Thus, to the approximately 300 million euros of POAlgarve will have to be added the 300 million euros that the government guaranteed, in direct response to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Algarve, for the economic diversification of the region.
“Right now, our responsibility is to work with POAlgarve. It is about 600 million euros and we are focused on working with the municipalities, to integrate their projects, but also with companies and business associations to contribute in fact to the diversification of the economic base ”, said José Apolinário.
The other half of the amount to be invested in the Algarve economy over the coming decade will be guaranteed by the structural funds of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, of the other national programs and of the cross-border instruments.
"Our perspective is to integrate in the region and obtain maximum funding for projects that improve the lives of the people who live here and also the resilience conditions of the region", said the leader of CCDR / Algarve.
In this context, there are six sectoral areas that will deserve the application of the next community funds: sea; energy efficiency and renewable energies; agribusiness and biotechnology; active and healthy aging; green jobs; and creative and cultural industries.
“We want to have answers to these issues,” said Apolinário, adding that “the big challenge is to have more investment in innovation and science” and also “improve the context conditions” of companies, many of them with difficulties in energy costs or in internet access.
Regarding the Central Hospital of Algarve, the director was not very expansive, stressing only that the CCDR will accompany this process with the government with the “expectation” that “throughout 2021, there will be a clarifying answer”.
In the conversation with members of the media about the current community support framework, José Apolinário pointed out as the objective "to reach 58 to 60%" of execution (expense already made) at the end of 2021, compared to the current 42%. "That is, increasing the execution of POAlgarve by 50 million euros", he explained.
The commitment rate (volume of funds already committed) of 318.6 million euros provided for in the current POAlgarve stands at 89.9%, with 1,313 operations approved, despite the fact that execution is still delayed – but in line with the table previous.
“In the last two months, we went from 39% to 42%. We paid close to 10 million euros. It is an execution in line with the closure of the previous framework and with the other regional operational programs. But we recognize that we have to speed up implementation. It is one of the main focuses for this year ”, said Apolinário.
From the point of view of public investments, the newly appointed CCDR / Algarve leader emphasized, there are a set of procedures that “sometimes lead to a delay” in the launch of the tenders themselves.
"We are working directly with the 16 municipalities and, in the case of public entities, seek to find out what the problems are and contribute to their resolution", he added.
In relation to the private sector, “there was a greater execution” in an initial phase, which meanwhile decreased. "We have to do a more detailed analysis, to know which ones are, in fact, to materialize and those who have to move to the next table", he concluded.