Euroregions as a Part of Trans-Border Cooperation of Belarus: Legal and Sociological Aspects

Alena A. Dastanka, Volha I. Chuprys

Abstract


The article builds on the authors’ research into the formation and activity of trans-border cooperation of Belarus as part of regional policy and part of cooperation with neighbouring EU countries, addressing questions that may also be relevant on a broader regional scale. Based on empirical findings, this article aims to discuss the effectiveness of trans-border cooperation in general and activities of the Euroregion in particular. How do national and local governments, the existing legal framework, the level of cohesion of Euroregions as an important organizational form of trans-border cooperation of the administrative-territorial units of the Republic of Belarus and neighbouring countries in sociocultural, economic, socio-political dimensions contribute to the capacity of those initiatives to be a part of foreign and domestic policies? We take five Euroregions “Dnepr” (Belarus, Russia, Ukraine), “Bug” (Poland, Ukraine, Belarus), “Belovezhskaya puscha” (Poland, Belarus), “Neman” (Kaliningrad region, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus) and “Ozerny krai” (Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus). The empirical data were collected through the analysis of current legal framework of trans-border cooperation in Belarus and through personal interviews with representatives of government, scientists involved in the Euroregion studies, as well as among representatives of public institutions and associations of the countries – participants of the Euroregions. We find that even though Belarus has a reduced level of relationship with the European Union a crucial feature for all Euroregions is the number of projects in framework of mainly the EU technical assistance programs. The paper, therefore, highlights that from one hand, the economic and social development in bordering regions could take place without Euroregions, from another – the prospective role of the Euroregions will be in development of “good neighbourhood belt” on the perimeter of external borders of Belarus in all its dimensions: military, political, cultural, informational, social and economic.

KEYWORDS: regional policy, trans-border cooperation, euroregions and border cooperation, legal and sociological analysis.

JEL CODES: F53, R11, R58

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15181/rfds.v13i2.821

 


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