41st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "European Regional Development Issues in the New Millennium and their Impact on Economic Policy", 29 August - 1 September 2001, Zagreb, Croatia
The Spanish-Portuguese border has had a particular behaviour within the European context. The dictatorships of Franco and Salazar constituted a period of strong control that contributed effectively to the border's impermeability and the disarticulation of cross-border territories. Along with the event of Democracy in the two Iberian countries the model mentioned above became more flexible through reduction and relaxation of controlling, which was translated into some permeability. Nevertheless, only the simultaneous entry of Portugal and Spain in the European Community brings forth the beginning of a new and opener model of relationship, with new perspectives of regional development which would eventually contribute to the extinction of the pernicious consequences imposed by decades of strong impermeability and marginalization. In this sense, the integration on a cross-border scale seemed assured, as well as the substantial increase of development in those regions. Notwithstanding the registered improvements in recent years (within two CSfs and two INTERREGs), the evolution of Spanish-Portuguese cross-border regions and of the integration process at that level has not quite followed the path mentioned above. In this way neither did the development in cross-border regions meet the expectations (comparatively with national averages), with the respective consequences regarding social end economic cohesion, nor was the economic integration progress at cross-border level equally convergent with the integration of both Iberian countries. This evolution is surely due to many reasons, of which we point out the following: the historical background of marginalization and strong territorial inactivity lived by cross-border regions, the inadequacy of interventions made in the context of Structural Funds and the internal socio-ecnomic dynamics of each country. The situations described above must be reflected upon in order to make this new model of integration, resurrected by Portugal and Spain's joining the EC, capable of producing the most positive effects in cross-border regions.