Tackling the measurement of cross-border cooperation intensity: an empirical example on the Hungary-Croatia border

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Pámer, Zoltán
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Although cross-border cooperation has traditionally been treated as a research issue of geopolitics and governance, use of data from European Union (EU) funded Interreg programmes opened up opportunities for comparative and in-depth analysis. The importance of Interreg programmes, as instruments of the European Territorial Cooperation goal, has been constantly on the rise since its inception as INTERREG Community Initiative, then becoming part of the cohesion policy mainstream in 2007. In the 2021–2027 programming period, for first time since its setup, Interreg has received lower funding, which requires a higher stress on cooperation and thematic concentration. When defining funding priorities of programmes, besides “general” factors (development needs, stakeholders’ preferences, regulation constraints), the crossborder factor – i.e. how projects contribute to cooperation as such – should be also taken into consideration. Therefore, allocation should prefer thematic areas (priorities) where cooperation is likely to be more intensive. Intensity of cooperation, as a composite indicator, may be generated from various parameters that may be measured in case of implemented projects, on the basis of Interreg programme data. The paper aims to provide a simple yet transparent methodology on how the intensity of cross-border cooperation may be measured and how different thematic areas may be ranked in terms of their contribution to cooperation. The first part of the study presents an overview of ‘border studies’ from different aspects and the selected target area concerned. It is followed by a summary of the evolution of European Territorial Cooperation, highlighting the main milestones and particularities of the regulation for the 2021–2027 programming period. The following part lays down the applied methodology: composition of cross-border cooperation intensity indicator and the five sub-indicators. The results are presented through the example of projects financed by the Interreg V-A Hungary-Croatia Cooperation Programme 2014–2020. The final part of the paper summarises the lessons learned and their replicability.
határmenti együttműködés , határok - magyar-horvát , kohéziós politika
DETUROPE: Central European Journal of Tourism and Regional Development 13:(2) pp. 125-138. (2021)