NORTE 2020 NORTE 2020 (2014–2020 North Portugal Regional Operational Programme) is a financial instrument intended to support regional development in North Portugal, which is part of the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement and of the current cycle of structural funds provided by the European Union. Under the management of the North Portugal Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-N), NORTE 2020 stands as an important contribution to the regional development strategy, based on a dual path of convergence with the european and national averages. Given the paradigm of the European cohesion policy, which channels most of the funds to less competitive regions, the allocation for NORTE 2020, of 3.4 billion euros, is the most relevant among regional operational programmes. This financial envelope is complemented by other thematic operational programmes and financial instruments of which the North Portugal Region is a beneficiary, with the aim of materialising the vision of the regional development strategy planned in NORTE 2020: “In 2020, the North Portugal Region will be able to generate a level of production of tradable goods and services that allows resuming the convergence trend towards the European level, ensuring sustainable increases in the population’s income and employment levels and thus promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion”. PORTUGAL 2020 It is the Partnership Agreement undertaken between Portugal and the European Commission, which brings together the five European Structural and Investment Funds – ERDF, Cohesion Fund, ESF, EAFRD and EMFF – setting the programming principles which enshrine the economic, social and territorial development policy to be advanced in Portugal, between 2014 and 2020. These programming principles are aligned with Intelligent, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, carrying out the Europe 2020 Strategy. Portugal is set to receive 25 billion Euro until 2020, for this purpose it outlined the Thematic Objectives to stimulate growth and job creation; the actions required to attain them and the achievements and expected outcome from this funding. Stimulus to the production of tradable goods and services; Increase in exports; Transfer of results from the scientific community to the productive sector; Compliance with compulsory schooling up up to 18 years of age; Reducing levels of early school leaving; Integration of people at risk of poverty and battling social exclusion; Promotion of sustainable development from a standpoint of an efficient use of resources; Strengthening territorial cohesion – particularly in cities and low-density areas; Rationalization, modernization and training of Public Administration: these are the main objectives of the policies to be enacted by Portugal2020. ERDF - European Union The ERDF aims to promote the harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of the European Union (EU) by correcting some of the differences in levels of development between its regions. There will be specific assistance from the ERDF to deal with the problems of naturally disadvantaged regions (island, mountainous or sparsely populated) and outermost areas as a result of their remoteness. The ERDF will concentrate its investments on four key themes: innovation and research; information and communication technologies (ICT); support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); promoting a low-carbon economy. The budget for 2014-2020 is over EUR 185 billion.