Portugal runs the risk of not being able to absorb the 63 million euros (MM€) of the new generation of European funds, within the stipulated period. Our approval of projects and payment of approved funds demonstrates that they take a long time to appear and, when there were delays in execution. Perhaps the system for managing European funds is too complex. But as complex companies and other beneficiaries will have to include this in their strategy, otherwise they will not be able to access the funds. Flexibility and dynamism is what is asked of the main actors in the drama.
Let’s get to the facts. Portugal 2020 (PT2020) provided funds of around €26 million to finance projects between 2014 and 2020. On December 31, 2020, approval was given that all available funds had been exhausted (commitment fee), but funds paid did not exceed 57.5% of the total (execution fee). If, in seven years, almost half of the program remained unexecuted, what will happen, during the next seven years, with the €63 MM: € 22.9 MM from PT2030, 16.6 MM € from the PRR, 11.1 MM € remaining of PT2020, committed but not fulfilled, 9.8 MM€ from the PAC and 2.1 MM€ from the REACT?
The Court of Auditors (TdC) points out that although the execution rate is higher than that of other Member States, the truth is that this rate accelerates our, as a rule, a long time to start, is, in general, low and only significantly on the straight end of period. The commitment fee follows the same pattern, and its values oscillate between double and triple the execution fee. According to the TdC, the execution rate of PT2020 must be: late startup of programs; lack of human resources in support structures; Attention to the different guidelines at the level of entities and joint action; lengthy notices of tender opening; complexity in articulating funding from different funds; lack of attractiveness of some supports; recipients’ lack of interest; delays in authorizations and prior opinions; delays in analyzing payment requests; and difficulties in operating information systems. 
How are the Portuguese State and companies reacting to this challenge? It is hardly credible that the State can, in the short term, solve all the problems indicated by the TdC. Management entities can create sum-structured projects and structures – management entities as management structures? These will have to multiply the staff to maintain a constructive dialogue with the beneficiaries. Delays in releasing funds in terms of credit granted.
And as business schools? They would be platforms for discussion and exchange of good practices between all these actors, who assume a neutral and independent stance. This is what AESE Business School intends to do with the Next Generation Program.
 The European average is 56%. “With the evil of others I can do well”.
 Audit of Portugal 2020. Report No. 12/2021.
Diogo Ribeiro Santos Director of the NextGen Program at AESE Business School