This workshop will address how border regions are being affected by current re-bordering trends in Europe. From a bottom-up, citizen-oriented perspective, border region living practices will be related to European and regional development policies. Presenters will discuss how border region residents use border regions as living spaces, and how European and regional policies can contribute to revitalising cross-border regions as attractive and competitive living spaces.
About 30% of the EU's population live in border regions. They have been encouraged to exploit free movement and actively engage in creating cross-border living spaces, where different facets of daily life such as residence, work, education, shopping and leisure activities span borders. Today, the development of open, prosperous border regions is being challenged, not least because the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of the open borders paradigm and of free movement in European border regions. The four presentations in this panel will re-direct attention to border regions as living spaces by taking the bottom-up perspective and focusing on the actions of border region residents and how regional politics can contribute to a revitalisation of cross-border regions.
Four cases will illustrate the issues faced by European border regions today, in the wake of the pandemic. One presentation will summarise existing research on the different European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) to evaluate this legal instrument that has promoted cross-border cooperation over the past 15 years. This will demonstrate the potential, but also the limits of EGTCs as living spaces and laboratories of European integration. Another will scrutinise the opportunities for sustainable tourism in different European border regions, suggesting effective measures to successfully implement sustainable tourism strategies in border regions. A third will present the euroregional monitor, designed under the Dutch-German Interreg programme, as an instrument for measuring the impact of the pandemic and the resulting reductions of cross-border activity on local and regional identity in the four Dutch-German euroregions. The fourth presentation will examine the effects of the pandemic on the cross-border governance of the cross-border twin city of Frankfurt (Oder)/Słubice on the Polish-German border. It will outline how local players deployed strategies and measures to counteract the challenges arising from the border closure during the pandemic.