The paper deals with border regions in Poland, which are regarded as a specific type of peripheral areas. The aim of this paper was to assess the Polish-Czech and Polish-Slovak border cooperation at the local level and to compare it to the Polish- German border. The studies were based on the analysis of the microprojects qualified for implementation under the Microprojects Fund within INTERREG IIIA programmes. Particular emphasis was put on the type characteristic of the projects and institutional structure of beneficiaries. Moreover, the relationships between analysed features were studied. The spatial distribution of projects was also examined. The role of Euroregions in the process of cross-border co-operation implementation was described. The analysis of the microprojects was carried out for the Poland’s southern border and the western one, as well as for particular Euroregions.
The symmetry and/or asymmetry in terms of cross-border openness of service providers is examined in this article, for the cases of two border twin towns: Cieszyn/Český Těšín at the Polish-Czech border, and Gubin/Guben at the Polish-German border. To assess the level of openness of firms towards clients from the other side of the border, four trans-border categories were examined: neighbour’s language visible at store location; business offers in the language of the neighbour; the possibilities of payment in the neighbour’s currency; and the staff’s knowledge of the language. This enabled a comparison of both parts of the particular twin towns in relation to the character of cross-border openness, as well as an assessment of their symmetry/asymmetry. Comparisons of Gubin/Guben and Cieszyn/Český Těšín with respect to the analysed features were also carried out. The analysis shows significant variation in the level of cross-border openness towards clients from neighbouring countries. Whereas in the Polish-Czech town a relative symmetry was observed, in the Polish-German case, significant asymmetry was noted.
The Role of the Integrating Factor in the Shaping of Transborder Co-Operation: The Case of Poland
Transborder co-operation is shaped by many factors and thus takes various forms on particular bor-ders. Within the same formal-legal arrangements under Interreg Programmes, the greatest role in the diver-sification of co-operation was played by non-system-related conditions specific to particular border regions. To identify what specifically drives co-operation, the nature of Polish-German and Polish-Czech transborder co-operation was compared. On the basis of the research conducted, it can be said that the existence of similar conditions on both sides of the border may define specific directions of co-operation and hence be called an inte-grating factor. Coupled with relatively weak barriers, this integrating factor may exert a powerful influence on the development and character of transborder co-operation. Thus, in the process of shaping co-operation policy it is crucial to identify the existing integrating factor (or to define the possibilities of creating it) and to limit the impact of co-operation barriers.