Geographia Polonica (2012) vol. 85, iss. 3

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The competitive position of border areas in relation to the Polish and German regions

Małgorzata Leśniak‑Johann, Andrzej Raczyk

Geographia Polonica (2012) vol. 85, iss. 3, pp. 37-54


Borderlands are areas where competitiveness develops in a very particular way. On the one hand, they are often preferredareas, which are less socio‑economicallydeveloped. At the same time, the development of integration processes facilitatesthe establishing and realisation of cross‑bordercooperation. This is accompanied by increasing competitive pressure fromneighbouring regions across the border, which is mostly linked to the building‑upof the competitiveness of territorial units.The Polish‑Germanborderland is an example of a region characterised by the greatest discrepancies in the level of socio‑economicdevelopment in the European Union and for this reason it was chosen for analysis.The purpose of this paper was to analyse spatial variation in the level of competitiveness of territorial units in the Polish‑Germanborderland (NUTS2 regions). The position of the borderland in the socio‑economicstructure of both countries wasdetermined on this basis and the level of competitiveness of the regions on both sides of the border was compared. Theanalysis was dynamic in character and covered the years 2002 and 2008.In the light of the research conducted it was concluded that spatial preference was analogous to economic preference when analysingthe relationship between the German part of the borderland and the rest of the country. On the Polish side of the borderlandsuch a coincidence did not occur. The more advanced development level on the German side, although considerably higher,does not constitute „a civilization gap”. In some respects Polish regions had a better competitive position than the German ones.The study revealed similarities in the main factors contributing to competitiveness on both sides of the border. However,the significance of these factors was different.

Keywords: competitiveness, cross‑border cooperation, Polish‑German borderland

Małgorzata Leśniak‑Johann, University of Business in Wrocław Ostrowskiego 22, 53‑238 Wrocław: Poland
Andrzej Raczyk, University of Wrocław Pl. Uniwersytecki 1 50‑137 Wrocław: Poland