Three Essays on Cross-Border Cooperation in the European Union

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This dissertation consists of three essays, each of which explores a different aspect of cross-border cooperation (CBC) in the European Union (EU). It focuses on the drivers and outcomes of inter-regional cooperation in Europe’s border regions and relates the subject to the larger geopolitical framework of European integration. The first essay serves as a general introduction to the topic. It is one of the first quantitative studies that analyze a set of potential drivers of CBC from a thematic perspective. Focusing on the EU’s territorial cooperation program (INTERREG) results from 2007 to 2013, this essay compares three distinctive thematic areas of CBC, namely education, small and medium-sized enterprises, and infrastructure. The regression results support the hypothesis that economic, social, institutional, and geographical drivers of CBC play different roles in determining the intensity of cooperation in different contexts. The second essay aims at estimating the impacts of opening of borders and CBC on regional economic growth in Europe. The difference-in-difference estimations show that the opening of national borders for free movement of people is associated with a 2.7% increase in regional gross value added (GVA) per capita for European border regions. Using an extension of this model based on EU-supported CBC projects data for the 2007-2013 period, the results also suggest that the doubling of number of CBC project partners (per 100,000 population) is correlated with an increase of 2.3% in regional GVA per capita. These results confirm the positive economic benefits of European integration by means of CBC. Based on a comparative case study, the third essay argues that the European integration process has a positive impact on the intensification of environmental CBC activities in the Balkans region. Focusing on two specific flood risk management cases from the Maritsa and Danube river basins, it relies on a game theoretical approach to explore the mechanisms through which multilateralism and regional integration enhances CBC. This essay contributes to the literature in two ways. First, a cost-benefit framework is formally applied to the study of flood risk management in borderlands. Secondly, it breaks down the complex water-related CBC problems into two games with distinct characteristics. The results help us understand the specific role of multilateral cooperation in addressing cross-border environmental issues.

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111 pages


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border regions; cross-border cooperation; INTERREG; regional integration; regionalism; Schengen


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Union Local


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Committee Chair

Brooks, Nancy

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Donaghy, Kieran Patrick
van de Walle, Nicolas

Degree Discipline

City and Regional Planning

Degree Name

Ph. D., City and Regional Planning

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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