The article describes the meaning and the essence of the trans-border cooperation. There are also several international documents mentioned connected with the topic and the issue of Euroregions. Furthermore there are some impulses showed which stimulate or limit the cross-border partnership. The article also shows possible ways of development in this kind of activity. Two sections of the article are about cooperation between Poland and our two neighbors: Germany and Belarus. Beside the general view of our common activities, there are also a few particular examples of trans-border organizations working on many spheres of life.
According to European Charter For Border And Cross-Border Regions, borders are the „scars of history”. In a „global village” borders seem to be only the mementoes of the old times, wars and conquests. The modern „homo sapiens globalis” society can be characterized by international (rather than national) status and mobility. Despite the fact that former significance of the borders is being subsequently weakened, they still function as an obstacle or a barrier deeply disturbing global cohesion. Borders directly impact the pace at which particular regions develop. It is especially evident when administrative borders are the same as natural borders. The idea to create an unfettered society came into existence in Western Europe in late fifties of 20-ieth century. The pioneers were: France, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.
2. Definition and objectives of trans-border cooperation
Even though the term of trans-border cooperation is a frequently used and discussed, defining its scope presents certain problems. The Madrid Convention definition characterizes cross-border cooperation as each mutually started activity aimed at strengthening and development of neighbourhood contacts between communities and territorial authorities of two or more parties, as well as reaching agreements and settlements indispensable in fulfilling such goals . In Madrid Convention, besides this definition, fundamental duties of partnership countries and the guidelines for activities in which countries can and should act have been presented. The templates for international as well as local authority agreements have been attached. European Charter For Local Government is the next document defining cross-border cooperation, in which the duties of the countries involved in the process of solving administrative problems have been defined. European Chart For Border And Trans-Border Regions plays an important role in development of cooperation between countries. Despite the fact that basic aspects of cross-border cooperation policies have been determined in this document, it is not considered as a legal instrument.
Furthermore, the activity of international bodies, including Euroregions, has to be adapted to a particular country law and bilateral agreements.
The definition of Euroregion covers a very well developed form of a cross-border cooperation. The Euroregion territories, administered on borders of European countries in order to overcome administrative boundaries, were appointed to bond local communities living in different countries but close to each other by the means of social, cultural and economic cooperation. There are 64 Euroregions in Europe and 18 in Poland .
3. Trends of trans-border cooperation in Europe
Trans-border cooperation applies to various aspects of social and economic reality. Its objective is above all to promote entrepreneurship especially among small or medium businesses in the hope of increasing the community standard of living, allowing for economical growth an international cooperation of businesses.
Trans-border cooperation helps in community development as well. Increased standards and better access to health protection, education, road and railway network, mutual actions of various administrative bodies to fight unemployment and crime are of significant advantage to residents living in the region. Bringing together the efforts and experiences of scientific centres, including R&D, increases the effectiveness of work and helps to save significant amount of money.
Another factor in development of trans-border cooperation is the process of convergence. Less developed regions try to gain capital and technology from wealthier partners, who can in turn utilize the potential of less developed regions, which so far have remained unnoticed due to difficult economic situation.
4. Polish-German trans-border cooperation
For almost whole second half of 20-ieth century Polish-German trans-border cooperation was restricted by “Zgorzelec Treaty” signed by Poland and German Democratic Republic as well as Treaty for Mutual Relationship Normalization between Poland and West Germany . There are four Euroregions on Polish-German border. During last 20 years plenty of organizations, which cooperate in various fields, were born . Two of them might serve as an example: House for Polish-German Cooperation and Polish-German Youth Office. The first one was established as the result of all-party initiative of both countries aimed at bringing together capital and human resources in order to further develop decentralization and cultural dialog .
The second one functions as a centre for youth exchange, subsidies distribution and joint scientific projects and courses .
5. Poland Belarus – trans-border cooperation
Association for Cooperation „Poland – East” is an example of an organization cooperatiing with countries located to the east of Polish border. The examples of Association’s activity include: help in establishing economic and business cooperation between Polish and Belarusian companies, organization of meetings and discussion panels with scientists and authorities in the field of culture, running a publishing house specializing in language and tourist attractions publications, organizing sport events, exhibitions, previews and promotion of talented individuals.
Mateusz Kurowski (Student kier. Ekonomia, Uniwersytet Zielonogórski).
Marek Kołodziejski, Katarzyna Szmigiel, Międzynarodowa Współpraca Transgraniczna i Międzygraniczna w Kontekście Polityki Regionalnej Państwa na Lata 2007-2013, Warszawa 2004.
Anna Warych – Juras, Euroregiony jako nowa forma współpracy europejskiej, www.up.krakow.pl, (28.02.2009).
signed on July 16, 1950.
Signed on December 7, 1970.
www.pol-niem.pl, Współpraca polityczna, (28.02.2009).
www.haus.pl, Dom Zadanie Przyszłość, (28.02.2009).
www.dpjw.org, Zadania, (28.02.2009).