The definition of the cross-border regions
The cross-border region by definition consists of the specific regions stretching the two sides of the border, where a territorial cohesion is provided by past and future economic and cultural linkages. The appropriate definition of the cross-border region can play a crucial role in the formation of relations and in the construction of the necessary information base. We can define the border region by standard territorial units. Hence a possible solution is to establish the regions in terms of the territories at the level of NUTS3. NUTS3 regions in Hungary are counties, while the appropriate level of Slovak administrative units are districts (kraje). From Hungary, it is the counties of Györ-Moson-Sopron, Komárom-Esztergom, and Pest on the North-Western Hungarian border that with this method would belong to the cross-border region, while from the Slovak side, it is the districts of Nagyszombat and Nyitra in South-Western Slovakia. Along the North-Eastern Hungarian border in the, Hungarian side, it is the county of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and Nógrád that belong to the cross-border region while on the Slovak sidet the districts of Kassa and Besztercebánya do. Studies confirm that when we examine the closer relations of the border region, it is more helpful to target the research on those territories that indeed belong together than the entire NUTS3 region. Hence we propose to deliniate the regions based on smaller territorial units. Therefore the research is implemented at the level of units corresponding to micro-regions, while in the Slovak side at the level of units corresponding to townships. Considering that the movement of labour force depends on transport facilities and whether the place of employment can be accessed by daily commuting, we put emphasis on areas that can be reached by daily commuting, because cross-border labour force traffic typically falls within that field.
The presentation of the major economic indicators and demographic characteristics of the two sides of the region based on macro and micro-level data. The analysis of the economic relations of the Slovak and the Hungarian parts
The Slovak-Hungarian borderland displays major differences in an East/West division. Whereas in the East, the border region consists of micro-regions with unfavourable demographic conditions, decreasing population and deteriorating economic indicators in both countries, the picture is more diverse in the Western border area: the labour market situation is worse on the Slovak side with high unemployment rate and a lower level of welfare than in the Hungarian territories. The goal of the project at this stage is to compare the economic and social situation of the county level and of the small regions at the border; the definition and standardization of differences and similarities for the purpose of clarifying the factors that facilitate or hinder economic cooperation, business to business relations and the flow of services. Another aspect of the investigation is to find out what effect the differences and similarities revealed by the research and data analysis can have on transborder migration.
An important element of the research is to compare the economic characteristics of the two border areas (Eastern, Western, Slovak and Hungarian): investigation of the potential for cooperation based on economic structure and dynamics, and enterprise structure as well as the estimation of migration potential stemming from this. In this work phase apart from a statistical analysis, business interviews are also conducted, and a survey is implemented both among employees and employers. During the research we will contact the representatives of the local labour centers.
Analysis of the labour market on the Hungarian and Slovak sides of the border
- The labour market research of the two sides of the border area: the volume and structure of labour supply, factors affecting wages, forecasting of employment possibilities. The research on the one hand examines the trend and expectable structure of labour supply, on the other hand it evaluates how the crisis influenced previous processes and whether there is a difference between the labour market trends of eastern and western border regions and between the local labour market policy responses given to the crisis. The method of inquiry: data analysis. (statistical data, business data bases), interview making.
- The outlook and effect of labour migration on the economies of the two countries.
- Analysis of labour market extending the border region, the place and role of migration for labour purposes in the economies of the border neighbouring regions. Can we speak of a single labour market extending the entire region? What direction of movements are typical? Are new direction trends likely?
- Presentation of factors facilitating and hindering migration, the role of traditional relations in labour migration. Analysis of institutional characteristics, examination of institutional relations in terms of the degree to which they facilitate migration. Analysis of business to business relations, and of the regional labour force drain potential of businesses.
- The role of local employment services in promoting labour mobility on both sides of the border. Information, relations, cooperations.
Analysis of relations, cooperation, and of communication
- Relations and cooperation on the two sides of the border. The possibilities and limitations of enhanced networking.
- Geographical (the Danube, Ipoly), infrastructural conditions, provision of public roads, distance, provision of accessability, availability of bridges, provision of the Danube stretch with bridges, motorway/highway, rail.
Recommendations for facilitating cross-border labour movement exploiting regional synergies
- Reaping the benefits of economic proximity. preparing case studies and desk research.
- The economic and labour market effect of the crisis on relations.
- Comparative advantages of labour traffic, facilitation, and involvement to strengthen the benefits of cross-border labour mobility, by eg: joint training programs, specialized labour recruitment and employment services, exploration of remote work, development of EURES-T.
 Hárs, Ágnes, Kopint-Tárki Zrt (2010): Tanulmányok a határ menti régiók gazdasági és munkaerő-piaci helyzetéről és lehetőségeiről, a foglalkoztatást segítő támogatásokról (Studies on the economic and labour market situation and possibilities of border regions and on the funds supporting employment)
Hárs, Ágnes – Nagy, Katalin – Vakhal, Péter, Kopint Konjunktúra Kutatási Alapítvány, (2006):A szlovák és a magyar határ menti régió a Duna két oldalán (The Slovak and the Hungarian border regions on the two sides of the Dabube)
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