Edited by David Smallbone, Friederike Welter and Mirela Xheneti
Chapter 6: EU enlargement and SME development in Moldovan border regions
Important changes such as the EU enlargement can have an enormous impact on the situation of small firms in non-member states. In particular, these changes affect countries neighbouring the EU. When Romania joined the European Union (EU) in January 2007, the border between the Republic of Moldova and Romania, its neighbour, became the new border of the EU. This geographical proximity to the EU has influenced different aspects of socio-economic activity in the Republic of Moldova, in particular the development of entrepreneurship in its border regions. In this chapter we will discuss the effects of EU enlargement on the activity of Moldovan small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In particular, we will show that the entrance of Romania into the EU has created additional barriers and risks for the economic cooperation between Moldovan and Romanian SMEs. Our specific focus will be on businesses operating mainly in the border districts of Moldova that are either already involved in international business cooperation or planning to do so. We will juxtapose the expectations Moldovan entrepreneurs expressed before Romania joined the EU and the actual changes which took place after January 2007 and affected the cross-border cooperation of Moldovan SMEs. Empirically, the chapter will draw on the results of a series of interviews with entrepreneurs conducted between 2006 and mid-2009. Cross-border cooperation of small and medium businesses is defined as any form of contact or cooperation between entrepreneurs, including those involved only in export and/or import.
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