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Territorial Development Strategies and EU Cohesion Policy

Evidence from the Portuguese Case (1989-2013)

Eduardo Medeiros


This paper addresses EU Cohesion Policy and its contribution to supporting territorial development strategies in Portugal in the last couple of decades. Based on the identification of the main drivers of territorial development, and on the use of a wide range of data, it shows the positive and the negative effects of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds in supporting national and regional development. In sum, it concludes that these effects were more on the positive side, and contributed to promoting territorial development trends in all Portuguese regions. Nevertheless, the lack of a strategic territorial development vision from the national authorities prevented a more effective and efficient use of available EU cohesion, structural and investment funds. At the same time, the ultimate goal of territorial cohesion was not achieved at national level, and the approximation to EU averages in most territorial development indicators is still a far cry from the reality.

Eduardo Medeiros is Geography Professor and Associate Senior Researcher at the Centre for Geographical Studies, IGOT, Lisbon University. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography – Urban and Regional Development Studies and is a DG REGIO expert. The views expressed in this article are personal.

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