Decentralisation and Regionalisation in Portugal

What Reform Scenarios?

image of Decentralisation and Regionalisation in Portugal

This report has been prepared by the OECD upon request by the Portuguese Independent Commission for Decentralisation. Decentralisation and regionalisation reforms have recently emerged on the Portugal’s policy agenda, with two main objectives: assigning more tasks to municipalities and strengthening regional level governance. The report presents a diagnosis of Portugal multi-level governance in international perspectives and highlights the strengths and challenges of the system. It then presents three potential policy paths of regional reform for Portugal. As the options are not mutually exclusive, they could work as complements to each other. The report analyses the conditions under which the reforms may deliver more economic efficiency and regional equity.



Executive summary and main policy options for Portugal

At first glance, the Portuguese model of multilevel governance does not seem to differ much from the systems practised in most other countries. However, Portuguese municipalities, parishes (freguesias) and intermunicipal co-operative units, which currently form the subnational government in Portugal, have much less spending and revenue powers than most of their peers in other EU countries. Therefore, the Portuguese multilevel governance system appears quite centralised compared with other European and OECD countries.


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