Edited by David Smallbone, Friederike Welter and Mirela Xheneti
Chapter 4: Cross-border cooperation within an enlarged Europe: Görlitz–Zgorzelec
Although it is the barrier effects that are more often emphasized, state borders represent a potential asset which provides cross-border regions with an opportunity to become centres of growth (ESPON and Interact, 2007). At the German–Polish border, Görlitz and Zgorzelec have taken advantage of this opportunity, and for two decades they have been participating in various forms of cross-border cooperation defined as ‘any concerted action designed to reinforce and foster neighbourly relations between territorial communities or authorities […] and the conclusion of any agreement and arrangement necessary for this purpose’ (Council of Europe, 1980, article 2). Institutional cooperation of both regions has been supported by a number of EU initiatives. One of the first was the PHARE CBC1 programme, which financed a wide range of activities, including transport, telecommunications, small infrastructural projects, and the development of local authorities’ competence (WWPE, 2007). However, all the projects were ‘linked to measures supported by INTERREG or by other Community external assistance programmes and/or […] projects agreed by the countries concerned, that have a cross-border impact, contribute to the development of structures in border regions and facilitate cooperation between the countries as a whole’ (European Commission, 2004, pp. 6/7). In the years 2004–06, similar support was provided under the INTERREG IIIA programme, which was designed to stimulate the development of cross-border economic and social centres; to finance the development of industries of entrepreneurship and small companies; to improve the cross-border system of environmental protection,
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