Portugal - learning region development summary

Portugal, a country with a rich history of seafaring and discovery, looks out from the Iberian Peninsula onto the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal's history has had a lasting impact on the culture of the country: Moorish and Oriental influences in architecture and the arts are prominent. Over the past 3 000 years, Portugal has witnessed a constant ebb and flow of civilisations. Phoenician, Greek, Celt, Carthaginian, Roman and Arabic cultures have all left their imprint. In the 15th century, Portugal’s intrepid maritime explorers led by Vasco da Gama discovered new territories, leading to the accumulation of an overseas empire. At home, the university of Coimbra, established in 1290, is one of the oldest in Europe.

The President, elected for a five-year term by universal suffrage, has limited powers. The parliament has 230 members, whose mandate is for four years.

During the month of June, festivities dedicated to three saints known as Santos Populares (popular saints) take place all over Portugal. They are characterised by folk dance and music, particularly the traditional melancholy fado .  Each region of Portugal has its traditional dishes made with various kinds of meat and seafood. In particular, the country is particularly well known for its one hundred ways of cooking cod.

Futher details from europa.eu...


Country contribution to Learning regions and cities


Some comments on policy on regional development

According to (Porfírio et al, 2006), ‘the regional policy formulation in the case of Portugal is maladjusted and antiquated’. (Porfírio et al, 2006) claims (about the ‘Upper Douro region’ : there is no regional policy that focus practical problems and advances concrete measures. Policies, unfortunately are definitively not regional policies; they are formulated at national level but are too vague and do not answer properly concrete regional problems whose solution could contribute to the emergence of new dynamics in the region under consideration  –  like  knowledge  application  and  exploitation;  knowledge generation and diffusion sub-system (consisting of Public research institutions, workforce mediating organizations,   educational   institutes,   technology   mediating   organizations,   which   are involved in production and diffusion of skills and knowledge) (Simões Lopes, 1971, 2001).

However because of this lack of Regional Policy, there is no ‘intermediary level decision- making level between Central State and Local Administration is to be found’. This gave rise to some experiences in inter-municipalities restricted to voluntary association of municipalities for very specific purposes, like programming and management of infrastructures but which ‘have no role in the regulation for territorial transformation and elaboration of strategic development’. (Vasquez & Oliveira, 2008:768) There no Regional Administrations e.g. a national project which aims at competences recognition of citizens; other is another recent (national) legislation that opened access Higher Education to 23 years+ of age adults. However it is a national legislation! It is nothing one can call a Learning Region or Learning city, etc.

Interestingly enough, one finds Cross Border Cooperation giving rise to what are now termed Euroregions,  is developed between Portugal and Spain. Some have been very successful and include several development domains, such as infra-structure, economy, culture and sports, tourism   and   leisure,   transports,   environment,   health   and   energy,   communications, education, innovation and technology (Medeiros, 2011: 142-143). Between Portugal and Spain we have:
  • Minho-Lima+ Cavado + Pontevedra + Ourense
  • Alto Tras os Montes + Douro + Zamora
  • Beira Interior + Salamanca + Caceres
  • Alto Alentejo+ Alentejo Central + Badajoz
  • Baixo Alentejo+ Algarve + Huelva
They include sharing of transportation; the sharing of companies; R&D facilities; cross border

Universities and polytechnic collaboration; joint technopolies (Medeiros, 2011: 150-152). Research by Ana Ramalho Correia


Summary of materials relating to this country which are now on the EUROlocal site

Significant examples of learning regions or cities in this country

Network of Centers of Novas Oportunidades Initiative

New opportunities initiative (Portugal)


Links to Strategic Framework for European Co-operation in Education and Training (ET2020)

To be completed


Final Summary of country in relation to LLL future work

To be completed