Furthermore that the traditional problems that have affected the cross-border areas between Portugal and Spain, that are to be explained further on, the main problem or lack that we pretend to cover with this project, is to motivate a cross-border cooperation network related to interior cultural tourism under the mutual valorisation perspective of a rich cultural heritage associated to the tradition of the “masks”.
The problems of the community’s balanced development, the scarce backup of economic, social and territorial cohesion and also the cross-border cooperation are problems to be discussed in the intervention area, which require developing specific activities to achieve economic and social cohesion planned in the Unions Treaty.
The traditional problems that this area is faced with and which are to be dealt with in this project are the following:
• Population: In the beginning of this century the average density of population in the actuation area is established in 27 inhabitants/km2 in the Province of Zamora and 19inhabitants/ km2 in High Trás-os-Montes. This represents a scarce population density either absolute or relative once compared with the national average, which can triplicate in the Spanish case and five times in the Portuguese situation.
The main reason for the low population rates can be summarized in:
1º. The demographical systems’ disintegration as consequence of constant and vast migration towards the traditional poles of historic attraction that has determined a structural situation of the population’s chronic drop with a strong negative natural component.
2º. The degree of the population’s ageing is very noticeable, representing 21% of the total population those over 65 years old, which causes the social devitalisation of the local communities.
3º. The desertification of the vast areas is determining the loss of activities and the rural areas identity in a process of inhabitants’ concentration in a reduced number of nucleuses.
Other population rates that show a preoccupying reality:
1º. Elevated unemployment rates that are in average values of 7% in Trás-os-Montes and 18% in the Province of Zamora. One should highlight the elevated rate of female unemployment that is about 27% in the Province of Zamora.
2º. High rates of ageing, with constant negative balances in the difference between birth and mortality rates of these two areas. It results preoccupying the elevated percentage of those with over 65 years of age, data that exceed the national averages being these 20% in Trás-os-Montes and 25,5% in the Province of Zamora.
3º. The natural population growth offers information that show a alarming situation of the population; if in Portugal the national average is in 0,7% and Spain a 0,5%; if we abide to the cross-border NUT III values, it can be ascertain that in Trás-os-Montes as in the Province of Zamora the population’s growth is negative with -0,5% rates in both areas.
• Low cooperative business activity: a need of establishing cooperative and coordinated business relationships is detected that attend integrally to the real needs of the population, which is becomes more restricted and older and at the same time have real successful potential.
1. Low cooperative business dynamics.
2. The need of cooperative investments that assure the region’s social cohesion.
3. Dependence on the public services and primary sector.
4. Need to establish new business development strategies and designs.
5. Need to motivate the cross-border business cooperation based on infrastructures and the previously created tools.
6. Lack of activities that promote cooperative participation of all the socioeconomic agents.
• Lack of cooperative innovation associated to the tourism activities: A lack of innovative ability is detected in using in a sustainable way the common tourism resources of the euro-region:
1º. Lack of innovative initiatives that revitalize the general economic activities; and those associated to common traditional activities; they need an innovative impulse as well as special protection that guaranties survival as a specific cultural element.
2.º Deficit in cooperative collaborating researches that suppose a revitalization of the region’s activities.
3º. Need of joint awareness of all the socioeconomic agents to protect and valorise traditions with a strong tourism value due to their peculiar and singularity in all the peninsula territory and in Europe.
• Threatens: common threatens are detected in the whole euro-region, coming from traditional characteristics structures that have to be modified to disintegrate negative tendencies.
1º. Structural crises effects in the agricultural sector, that haven’t been covered by the Common Agricultural Policy with scarce protection towards the small farmer, with which the main economic activities in the NUT III has been seen reduced.
2º. Loss of traditional values by general tendencies towards the globalization, risking the loss of cultural identity if measures aren’t taken to its preservation and protection.
3º. Low traditional activities of valorising the Historical and Cultural heritage, headed towards safeguarding and guarantying their viability.
4º. Need to define and identify the cultural heritage’s elements and its aspects and that the groups: communities and organization, actively participate in them.
5º. Need to implement general policies towards realizing cultural functions, as well as establishing cooperation with competent organizations related to conservation and cultural heritage.
6º. Scarce scientific and methodological researches done to safeguard cultural heritage, which at the same time promote its accessibility to all citizens.