Edited by David Smallbone, Friederike Welter and Mirela Xheneti
Chapter 2: Consequences of EU enlargement for economic development in border regions
Recent EU enlargements have changed the status of regions and borders in Europe by creating new internal and external border regions. The location of regions near the internal or external border of the EU determines the conditions for crossing the border for goods and people and consequently the challenges for cross-border cooperation. As many border regions are among the more disadvantaged regions in Europe, the development prospects of border regions are an important aspect of the enlargement process, emphasizing the potential importance of cross-border interaction and cooperation for economic development purposes. In addition, the removal or emergence of border-related barriers that have accompanied EU enlargement has not been undertaken in isolation. There have also been other impacts and changes in the business environment, such as opening of the market, increased competition or decrease in the number of customers, that pose new opportunities but also threats for the development of entrepreneurship and cross-border cooperation (CBC) in economically less-developed border regions. EU enlargement has removed borders between member states, thereby opening markets whilst also increasing competition, but at the same time the EU has tightened external borders (that is, decreasing customers) to enhance its security (Williams, 2007). As external borders have become tighter, regional cooperation with neighbouring countries has become more difficult. In terms of the level of development and entrepreneurship activity, peripheral border regions tend to be lagging behind compared with other regions of the countries (Weise et al., 2001; Bachtler et al., 2000; Platon and Antonescu, 2001).
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