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August 2007

Janek Uiboupin
Cross-border cooperation and economic
development in border regions of Western Ukraine
Electronic Publications of Pan-European Institute 9/2007

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In theoretical literature we find many discussions about how crossborder cooperation contributes to development of border regions. At the same time border regions generally suffer from peripheral status and even crossborder cooperation often remains less intensive than are the opportunities. The three Western Ukrainian border regions discussed within the paper are not exceptions. Lviv Oblast is clearly less peripheral because of important regional center – Lviv City. Volyn Oblast and Zakarpattya Oblast lack attractive regional centre and this fact reduces also the overall attractiveness of those regions.

The economic growth in border regions has been higher than Ukrainian total growth, that is a positive indication of development. All three border regions were also relatively successful exporters with higher than average export growth. The share of exports of border regions in total Ukraine’s export is below 2% for each border Oblast, in that point of view border regions remain peripheral. All three border regions are mainly agrarian regions. Many crossborder cooperation initiatives have been started to support crossborder
cooperation between neighbouring border regions.

There are several strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of regional development in border regions of Western Ukraine. The SWOT analysis showed that the regions are quite similar, having very similar opportunities and threats. There are some regional differences in strengths and weaknesses between regions. Zakarpattya Oblast and Volyn Oblast suffer from the lack of big regional center. All three regions are wellendowed with cheap and welleducated labour force, raw materials and agricultural land.

The author suggests that the development of infrastructure for trade and tourism should be in top priorities of the border regions. The current shape of roads and border crossings is quite below modern standards. Academic institutions should be more integrated into regional planning to increase the absorptive capacity and better manage financial aid from the EU Neighbourhood Programme. Environmental collaboration is also a very important field for future crossborder cooperation. In general, the author finds that border regions in Western Ukraine have lot of unused potential for future development.

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