Academic journal article Journal of Economics & Management

Development Differences between Central and Eastern European Regions by Country Borders

Academic journal article Journal of Economics & Management

Development Differences between Central and Eastern European Regions by Country Borders

Article excerpt

Introduction

This study compares regions next to the boarders of five Central and Eastern European countries, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. This comparison is made in connection with the rate of development on the level of EU NUTS 2. Cooperation between these areas also has historical relevance, they have an impact on each other from the economic-social point of view and concentration of the automobile industry is common among them. Among entrepreneurs of the regions, cooperation is frequent and European Union funds also support cross-border projects. This cross-border line is a dynamically improving region that shows industrial concentration in Central and Eastern Europe, which is proved by that in special literature this region is referred to as part of 'Central and European Blue Banana'.

When analyzing regional developmental differences, various indices can be presented, for instance, the situation of regional GDP, unemployment, employment, industrial concentration and proportion of research and development. Usually, data of EUROSTAT is used. The studied period lasts from 2004 until nowadays, changes since the enlargement of the EU are presented. In this study, the following regions are presented: Austria (Burgenland, Niederössterreich, Vienna), Slovakia (Bratislavky region, Zápandé Slovensko, Stredné Slovensko), The Czech Republic (Jihovychod, Strední Morava, Moravskoslezsko), Poland (Malopolska, Slask, Opolskie), Hungary (Nyugat-Dunántúl, Közép-Dunántúl, Közép-Magyarország).

The current study aims at comparing and introducing this area's regions, as via knowing developmental differences, such exact strategies, regional politics can be applied which assist economic development, cooperation and strengthen the regions' cohesion.

1. Characteristics and configuration of border regions

This study aims at analyzing areas consisting of determined regions next to the borders. In order to study the chosen area, first of all, characteristics and specificity of the notion of configuration, characteristics of Central European configuration and historic relevance, shaping factors of the investigated area must be understood. According to the traditional understanding, the cross-border area is defined as an area where the existence of borders plays a significant part in connection with economy and society (Hansen 1983). Nowadays, rather that definition should be used that takes into consideration that the restricting role of borders has ceased in the European Union. According to Hardi (2008), we can regard those areas as cross-border which life is influenced by interactions maintained with neighboring areas, connections to cities and transportation, and social and economic characteristics of citizens also have impact on it. However, it highlights that while EU's inner borders ensure the safety of entering, differences in systems (administrative, national, public administration) regulating everyday life exist. Martinez's (1994) model summarizes interaction between border areas and differentiates the following four levels of the relationships: 1) alienated border areas, 2) border areas existing next to each other, 3) border areas mutually cooperating with each other, 4) integrated border areas. Regions investigated by us are situated between the third and fourth level, as relationship between the countries is friendly, cooperative, in more places it can be characterized by very strong stability, however, complete fusion in social and economic way has not happened yet.

In order to describe Europe's configuration, numerous models have been created, which mostly took centrum - periphery as their basis. Szabó (2009) has an overview of different improvement differences in his critic, summarizing work on various configurational figures such as the well-known golden triangle, the blue banana, red octopus and such configurational figures with talking names. One of the most well-known figures is the Blue Banana, the so-called core area of Western-European economic centrum, where GDP per capita is the highest in the region. …

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