Eastern Poland as the Borderland of the European Union
The purpose of the present paper is to characterise the socio-economic potentials of the regions situated on both sides of the Polish-Russian, Polish-Belarusian and Polish-Ukrainian boundaries (against the background of historical conditions), as well as the economic interactions taking place within these regions. The analysis, carried out in a dynamic setting, sought to identify changes that have occurred owing to the enlargement of the European Union (including those associated with the absorption of the means from the pre-accession funds and from the structural funds). The territorial reach of the analysis encompasses four Polish units of the NUTS 2 level (voivodeships, or "voivodeships"), situated directly at the present outer boundary of the European Union: Warmia-Mazuria, Podlasie, Lublin and Subcarpathia. Besides, the analysis extends to the units located just outside of the eastern border of Poland: the District of Kaliningrad of the Russian Federation, the Belarusian districts of Hrodna and Brest, as well as the Ukrainian districts of Volyn, Lviv and Zakarpattya.
This main aim of this study is the examination and discussion of a conceptual and theoretical model for Poland’s areas of strategic intervention. Following a review of the current strategic documents at national and regional levels, it is possible to propose two basic categories of areas of strategic intervention: 1) growth areas (territories with natural or socioeconomic properties particularly favourable for development); and 2)problem areas (territories with unfavourable features and socioeconomic and/or natural processes). Among the problem areas it is possible to distinguish three main types: the social, the economic and the natural, albeit with the possibility of applying an even more detailed typology that allows for combinations of these types. Scientific findings can be combined with the results of empirical research to encourage the proposal of a new method of delimiting areas of strategic intervention. The identification of growth areas is primarily based on expert knowledge, which is clearly qualitative. In turn, the processes by which problem areas are delimited is quantitative in nature, reflecting analyses of selected diagnostic indicators that take social, economic and natural issues into account. The results which were obtained relate to the concept of endogenous development, as well as the assumptions under pinning policies of territorial cohesion.