The conclusion in this Opinion takes into account the principles of Article 8 of the Budgetary Framework Law (Law No. 151/2015 of 11 September): “The budgetary programming documents must be based on the most probable macroeconomic scenario or a more prudent scenario”. The same guiding principle for the use of realistic forecasts when conducting fiscal policy is also contained in European legislation, particularly in the Stability and Growth Pact and in the Council Directive 2011/85/EU of 8 November 2011 which sets the requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States.
In accordance with Article 4 (4) of the Regulation No 473/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013, as a result of the assessment carried out to the macroeconomic forecasts underlying the 2021-2025 Stability Programme’s draft, the Portuguese Public Finance Council endorses the presented macroeconomic estimates and forecasts, considering that:
- The current context of particularly high and unusual uncertainty does not allow for the identification of the most probable macroeconomic scenario, thus impairing the assessment of the principle of prudence to which these forecasts are subject;
- For 2021, the forecast for real GDP growth is within the projections’ interval defined by the reference institutions, even though this argument is not valid for nominal GDP forecast, an important determinant for the evolution of budgetary indicators;
- For the 2022-2025 period, even though the forecasts are slightly more favourable than those presented by reference institutions, the differences result from the consideration of the impacts of the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) on the economy, especially on Investment (GFCF). It should be noted that, in the absence of sufficient detail about the nature and amounts of the actual measures underlying the RRP, the implementation of the Plan constitutes a downside risk to the SP/2021 scenario. The risk stems from the time profile assumed for the investment of funds in the forecast horizon, the existence and feasibility of investment projects which allow for the absorption of funds in the economy, as well as the productive nature of those investments.