PART I - SITUATION AND TRENDS
3 Territorial cohesion: towards a more balanced development
3.4. Border regions
Border regions1 cover almost 40% of the EU land area
and account for 25% of the population. They are even more important in
the candidate countries, accounting for 66% of the land area and 58% of
population. Enlargement will, therefore, lead to a significant growth
in their prevalence in the Union.
In economic terms, the regions with borders internal to the EU cannot
in general be regarded as having more difficulties than other regions,
in part due to the extent of economic integration in the Union and the
success of the INTERREG initiatives. In particular, their level of GDP
per head (15% above the average of the enlarged EU of 27 countries) is
similar to that of non-border regions (17% above the enlarged EU average.
See Map A.10 and Table
A.12, in annex)
Regions with external borders, however, are in a more difficult situation,
with the notable exception of those which border the candidate countries.
While those with borders with third countries have a level of GDP of 5%
below the (enlarged) EU average, those bordering the candidate countries
have a level which is 15% above the new average of 27 countries.Nevertheless,
some of these regions might well face temporary difficulties after enlargement.
There are much more significant differences between the regions of the
present EU bordering the candidate countries and the neighbouring ones
in the candidate countries themselves. In the latter, GDP per head is
only 53% of the (enlarged) EU average, ie much less than half the level
in neighbouring regions in the present EU. Nevertheless, they are still
better off than regions in the candidate countries with eastern borders,
GDP per head in which averages only 37% of that of the enlarged EU.
1. NUTS 3 regions in the 27 countries
eligible for INTERREG III-A or the PHARE-CBC program.