Fri, 30 Oct 2020

LISBON, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Tuesday that his country will not resort to loans offered by the European Union's recovery fund, and will only use the grants of 15.3 billion euros (17.91 billion U.S. dollars) from the program.

"Portugal has a very high public debt and assumes to come out of this crisis stronger from a social point of view, but also more solid from a financial point of view," he said in a speech at an event attended by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who is on an official visit to the southern European country.

"We will make full use of grants, but we will not use the part related to loans until the country's financial situation allows it," said the prime minister.

In the speech, Costa said that the government is going to finance recovery and economic resilience projects, giving priority to "double effect" initiatives.

According to him, these projects must "face the country's greatest social vulnerabilities, increase the growth potential, and reinforce competitiveness and territorial cohesion."

In addition to defending a modernization of professional education and higher education in the areas of science, technology, arts and mathematics, Costa said Portugal needs "a reindustrialization agenda."

"We have to put together the knowledge production centers, economically value the best knowledge production that the country has, so that there are companies that are capable of producing in Portugal new products and new services for the global market," he said.

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