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After more than ten years of rural development programmes in Andalusia, there is ongoing concern about the sustainability of the rural development initiated by the LEADER-PRODER programmes in the hypothetical event that such programmes were no longer in place. In order to be able to express an opinion about this issue, it is important to answer to an entire series of questions about the concept of territorial competitiveness as a guarantee of the long term viability of a rural area. In order to be able to respond to these questions, as part of a wider research project into the transformation of rural areas in Andalusia, the competitive position of 3 territories in the "Campina Alta" (Cordoba), which have been benefiting from rural development programmes for several years, were analysed. This paper presents some of our results relating to territorial competitiveness. The analysis were chiefly qualitative, and was applied to the "case study" abovementioned. The methodology used is based fundamentally on the analysis proposal of territorial competitiveness provided by the European Observatory, supplemented with elements of the methodology proposed by the IICA. The results indicate 1) one cannot generalise about whether certain factors in isolation are positive or negative for territorial competitiveness, 2) only a comprehensive approach to territorial competitiveness can guarantee the long term viability of a rural area and 3) the risks associated when the viability of the territory is linked to the existence of development programmes, whose presence is not guaranteed for the future.


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