Module 4 Global Change
13.3 Human Geography: Changes in Countries in Various States of Development in the last 30 years.

Core - Periphery case study; an MEDC.

Italy as a member state of the European Union.

Mezzogiorno as a peripheral region.


Specification descriptors: A2 Module 4 unit 13.3

Name and describe national government policies drawn up to address the core periphery situation.

  • Population structure
  • Economic resources
  • Economic structure
  • Level of development
  • Population movement
  • Infrastructure
  • Name and describe the national government policies drawn up to address the core periphery situation in your named country and explain why the policies were needed.
  • Describe the methods used to introduce these policies.
  • Assess the effectiveness of the policies and the attitudes towards them.



At the start of our 30 year period the EC recognised 5 main types of disadvantaged region.

The relative importance of these shifted as the European Community grew and new members brought new problems


A problem from the start:


1. Underdeveloped regions, such as much of the Mediterranean area, dependent upon agriculture, with low incomes and poor infrastructure. e.g. Italy’s South; the Mezzogiorno.

An increasing focus for the 1970s and 80s:

2. Declining industrial regions. Iron and steel closure areas, heavy manufacturing e.g. ships, textiles, coalfields. e.g. North of England, South Wales, Belgian and German coalfields.

3. Peripheral regions with poor access to markets for products.

Border regions where there are major barriers to trade across the border. The Federal German border with the Communist DDR.

The 1980s focus:

4. Urban problem areas with severe social environmental and economic difficulties.

Naples and Athens rapidly growing with peripheral slums, congestion and pollution.

Decaying port cities like Liverpool and Genoa with high unemployment.

5. Inner city issues in most European cities.

Including Belfast and the Troubles.


The South of Italy (IL Mezzogiorno), that region to the south of Rome, including Sicily and Sardinia.

There was little EC regional support policy up to the late 1960s so Italian Government policy is dominant. Two Italys;

A prosperous industrial and urbanised North THE CORE centred upon the triangle Milan-Turin-Genoa. A backward, less developed South, THE PERIPHERY of the Mezzogiorno, dependant more upon agriculture than the average for MEDCs. Southern Italy had only 2/5 of the average per capita income for the North and half the national average upon entry to the EC.


Italian Government strategies for the periphery.


Land Reform; after World War 2 the transfer of ownership from estate landowners, with compensation, to small farmers and co operatives.

Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (the Fund for the South.)From 1955, Investment capital. By 1965 government spending was 60% of all investments and 40% by non state organisations to the South.

The IRI Instituto per la Recostruzione Industriale ( Institute for Industrial Reconstruction) responsible for big infrastructure and industrial projects.


  • The Autostrada del Sol a west coast motorway from Rome to Reggio del Calabria; now with the straits of Messina bridge project.
  • New port facilities, bulk cargo and specialist oil docks.


First phase strategy :industrialisation by direction from Rome


New Industries; the “Cathedrals in the Desert”; the Growth Pole theory

Industrial development- the unfortunate “cathedrals in the desert” government directed developments intended to create industrial growth centres.

e.g Taranto (former naval port)

  • 1964 coastal steelworks in the Bari-Brindisi-Taranto development triangle with a new modern integrated steelworks using local limestone, cheap imported coal and iron ore making oil pipes for the booming Middle East oilfields. (only 5000 direct jobs with good wages)
  • Oil refineries and petrochemicals using imported oil
  • Cement works using local limestone and sea transport.


By 1970 80% of government investment was going to the Mezzogiorno. Highly localised results Relatively few jobs. Heavily subsidised.


Second phase strategy: incentives and inducements from Rome

Carrot and Stick relocation (how to relocate industry in a democracy)

By the 1970s there was a change towards trying to create growth axis along the coast and into the interior. Italian companies were forced using “carrot and stick policies” to relocate to the South and broaden the regions economic base. e.g: FIAT cars

FIAT is based in Turin and wanted to expand but the government refused new housing developments for workers to support further growth of the car factory. FIAT went to Naples. FIAT got tax breaks but the Naples works used engines and chassis from Turin.

Private firms reluctant to relocate after the 1970s.Little effect away from the actual sites with the industry concentrated in Naples, Syracuse and the Bari, Brindisi, Taranto region.


Other Issues

Tourism. From the 1970s package holiday boom onwards, exploiting landscape, climate, culture and heritage sites. Spreading prosperity more evenly geographically, but coastal biased. Benefits from infrastructure investments; reservoirs, roads, airports.

Corruption and political instability at regional and national level 

Corrupt local politics and the Mafia inhibits democratic processes. e.g. Control of commercial contracts and labour.  e.g. the 1980 Catania earthquake relief funds largely disappeared. Central government campaigns against corruption, but central government has scandals too.

European Community regional funding

The Europe wide Common Agricultural Policy continues to help, but do Northern agribusinesses gain more from it than Mezzogiorno peasants?

The EC created Structural Funding for the regions from the early 1970s. The Mezzogiorno continues to benefit from them as a peripheral region of the EU.

E.g. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

      the ERDF is intended to redress the principle regional imbalances in the Community through participating in the development and structural adjustment of regions lagging behind in the conversion of declining industrial regions.” BUT

  • Some EU nations and substitute ERDF for their own expenditure, so the regions lose out.
  • The ERDF is too small.
  • The modern EU regional problems are more complex than the simple issues of the 1960s.



Use any sources to create 1/2 page A4 notes, define and explain the ERDF as a policy for peripheral development.



a) Why does a national government have a regional policy to reduce the Core Periphery effect? E.g. In the case of Italy, what might happen without it? Discuss the possibilities under the following headings:  i) Social issues ii) Political issues iii) Economic issues


b) Discuss the attitudes of nationalist workers in Milan to Italian government policy for the Mezzogiorno.


c) Discuss the attitudes of working class people in Catania to Italian Government policy.


d) Discuss the of the UK eurosceptic viewpoint, as exemplified by the UK Independence Party and elements of the Conservative Party, to Mezzogiorno policy and UK membership of the EU.