General Information

The EXLINEA Programme: “Lines of exclusion as Arenas of Cooperation: Reconfiguring the External Boundaries of Europe – Policies, Practices, perceptions”, is funded by the European Commission under the 5th Action Framework for Research and Technological Development. The following take part in this programme: Open University of Berlin (Germany), as coordinator, The Development Centre for south east Europe of the University of Thessaly, the Cross border Centre Peipsi (Estonia), the Centre for border Researsh in Nijmegen (Holland) , the Karelian Intituteof the University of Johensu (Finland), the Department of political sciences of the University of Tartu (Estonia), the Centre for Regional Studies of the Academy of Sciences in Hungary and the European Institute of Regional and Local Development in Warsaw (Poland).

The aim of the project is to examine capacities for cross-border co-operation and governance in CEE in anticipation of EU expansion. Cross-border region- building in Europe has developed in response to political and socio-economic challenges of integration as well as to opportunity structures provided by the EU. Still, its overall political (and problem- solving) significance in the context of enlargement is as yet unclear. The project seeks to contribute practical and scientific knowledge to this important policy area through 1) conceptualizing cross-border region-building as a product of social and spatial practices involving formal institutionalizations (explicit political constraints and opportunity structures) and informal integration (social interaction, participation of civil society), and 2) informing wider scientific and policy debate by providing empirical data.

Empirical Work. Content and methodology

The empirical work has been organised around a) Standardised questionnaires b) In depth interviews and c) local seminar, focus group and data and document collection. Through triangulation has been attempted to verify the validity of the various data sources as well as the methodology chosen. Policies, practises and perceptions have comprised the main focal point of the research framework.

Four hundred standardized questionnaires have been collected in order to assist the empirical analysis during the period May-December 2004. More specifically, ninety eight (98) questionnaires were collected from the Greece-Albania border zone of, a hundred and twenty four (124) from the Greece-FYROM zone and a hundred and seventy eight (178) from the Greece-Bulgaria zone. Table illustrates the basic profile of the sample which includes respondents from the public and the private sector, comprising a balanced sample.

Table: The profile of the research sample

(a) Public
(b) Private
Local Authorities
Local Chambers
Public Agencies
Selected large firms
Development agencies
Agencies promoting cbc
Universities and Institutions

Moreover, in the three cross-border zones, a total of fifty (50) in-depth interviews have been carried out with experts on issues of cross-border collaboration during the period January-May 2005. Half of these interviews took place in the Greek border zone area and the rest of them in the other side of the borders. In more detail, in the Greece-Albania zone fourteen (14) interviews took place, in the Greece-FYROM zone sixteen (16), and, in the Greece-Bulgaria zone twenty (20) interviews took place.
Finally, a local seminar was held in July 2005, involving stakeholders and experts, where the results of the survey have been announced and the particular aspects of the policies have been discussed. Furthermore, a compilation and analysis of regional structural data has been carried out in order to generate the structural profile of the area under examination.


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