In 1998 South Crofty mine closed, and with that closure came the end of over 4000 years of mining in Cornwall, mining that had brought trade with the ancient Persians and the Roman Empire, gone for good.
In the last century, to boot, both farming and fishing have been in decline, with recent agricultural crises, such as BSE, meaning that the majority of Cornish farms no longer generate enough income to support more than one person.
Unemployment in the county, moreover, is consistently higher than anywhere else in the country, with youth unemployment being a particular problem.
Even the tourist industry, now one of, if not the, major industries of the county, has done little to remedy this, being highly seasonal, and often low waged.
While the summer influx of visitors means amenities and services that might not otherwise be available, and, of course, brings in a large amount of revenue and employment, it does take its toll on Cornwall, bringing traffic congestion, over demand on services and environmental damage.
On 25th March 1999 the Berlin Summit confirmed that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will have Objective 1 status for the years 2000 to 2006, which means that individual projects will be eligible to apply for the maximum level of European Structural Funding.