International borders continue to impede cross-border cooperation

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Cross-border regions have great potential for cooperation, but very few border regions are integrated, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. A study by Dr. Francesco Cappelano and Professor Teemu McKonen at the Karelian Institute in Eastern Finland sheds light on the fact that, although there is much talk about promoting integration in cross-border regions, the reality is completely different. In the Cascadia border region that connects Seattle in the United States with Vancouver in Canada, economic cooperation has been modest, despite the fact that local authorities highly value it. The region has a long history of initiatives aimed at supporting cross-border cooperation, but so far there are few and few results.

Published in the journal Practice of Planning and Research, the study was part of the Cross Border Fellowship program funded by the University of Western Washington in the USA and the University of Victoria in Canada.

Cross-border cooperation has very little concrete evidence for

The study analyzed specific cross-sectional results.the border collaboration using survey and statistics. In particular, researchers focused on innovative collaboration, i.e. collaboration in science, research and product developmentmeasured by the number of co-publications, co-patents and networks. The study shows that in Cascadia, the cross-border network of cooperation is very scarce, which is manifested in the lack of specific joint scientific results and patents. According to researchers, this can be considered surprising.

“The economic characteristics of Seattle and Vancouver are very similar, and closer collaboration between them is encouraged. This should facilitate cross-border cooperation, but very rarely partners are sought across the border, ”says Dr. Cappelano,

The situation is not unique and not typical only for the border regions of North America. Professor McKonen observed a similar development also in the border regions of Europe.

“Although cross-border cooperation in the European Union and related areas is supported, for example, by the Interreg and ENI programs, the results remain modest in terms of cooperation in science, research and product development. For example, patents filed as a result of cross-border cooperation are rare. "

Cross-border cooperation in Öresund region The union of Sweden and Denmark is often seen as a case study of well-established innovative collaboration. However, according to Professor McKonen, this collaboration is not very impressive when you consider the resources, with the exception of certain specific areas of medicine.

The results of the study emphasize the fact that, although there is much talk about promoting integration in cross-border regions, specific results remain insignificant and far from each other.

“Current relations between the EU and Russia and the coronavirus pandemic test the sustainability of cross-border cooperation. How to save cooperation even at the current level, this is troubling, ”says Professor McKonen.

Russia closed border with China due to coronavirus

Additional Information:
Francesco Cappelano et al. Puzzle of proximity in border regions, Practice Planning and Research (2020). DOI: 10.1080 / 02697459.2020.1743921

International borders continue to impede cross-border cooperation (April 1, 2020)
retrieved April 2, 2020

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