OECD Territorial Reviews: Portugal 2008

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In order to curb rising unemployment and to upgrade low value-added activities, the competitive edge lost in low-cost labour must be earned back through education and innovation. Regional policy stands as a key tool to achieve this shift in a relatively small yet diverse country with moderate economic growth and limited public spending capacity. This report analyses how a paradigm shift in regional policy, building on the knowledge of both public and private stakeholders in specific regions (ranging from dynamic urban areas on the coast to lagging inland areas), could help Portugal fully exploit its potential for sustainable development.

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Regional Policy as a Tool to Enhance Portugal's Competitiveness

Portugal faces an unprecedented opportunity to invest in long-term assets for competitiveness. The cyclical upsurge and the strong political commitment to pass structural reforms are offering a unique momentum for Portugal to catch up with higher-income countries before emerging players (such as new EU member states) take over. Public funding to do so, however, remains limited in the present period of fiscal deficit reduction. Policies to upgrade human capital and nurture knowledge-based activities must therefore be based on a particularly cautious choice of projects.


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