The dynamics of economic development in the Polish–German border region: The example of the state of Brandenburg and ...

The example of the state of Brandenburg and the Lubuskie Voivodeship

Anna M. Steinkamp


The entry of Poland into the European Union in 2004 not only suddenly moved the German-Polish border region from the periphery of the nation to a new location in the middle of the EU but also acted as a driving force for economic cooperation in both regions. Economic development in the Oder border region was later accelerated by Poland’s accession to the Schengen Agreement in 2007 and the introduction of unlimited freedom of movement and residence for Poles in Germany in 2011. The unexpected closure of the border in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how intertwined and economically interdependent the German-Polish border region is.

The aim of this chapter is to analyse the economic development of the German and Polish sides of the border in the last ten years and to identify the current factors that improve or hinder bilateral economic industrial relations in the German-Polish border region. 1 also deal with the question of whether asymmetry as an imbalance in terms of economic capacity and economic development can be observed in the central section of the Polish- German border region, where the voivodeship of Lubuskie adjoins the state of Brandenburg.

After the research question and the objectives of the research are explained in the first section, the chapter continues as follows. Section 2 focuses on the political environment in the German-Polish border area between 1945 and 2020, because this has had an enormous impact on mutual perceptions and bilateral economic relations in the region. Section 3 contains an empirical analysis of the development of the German-Polish border region using secondary statistical data, which is followed by section 4, which compares the industrial situation in the state of Brandenburg with that of the voivodeship of Lubuskie to find out if there is any asymmetry between the two border regions. Section 5 presents internationally active industrial companies in the central border region and their external perceptions of bilateral, cross-border cooperation, and the last part summarises the most important results of the research.

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