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Business Networks in the Cross-border Regions of the Enlarged EU: What do we know in the Post-enlargement Era?

Birgit Leick


In the context of the Eastern European enlargement, locally based networks of enterprises were expected to act as an important driver of economic integration of the cross-border regions. In a globalized world, this type of network is supposed to play a vital role in strengthening the competitiveness of the peripheral regions along the former political–economic frontier between Western and Eastern Europe. In practice, however, only weak network-building across borders was observed in many of the border areas, instead, that involves local enterprises. The contrasting picture of the theoretical propositions and the empirical evidence is the starting point for the present paper. Its aim is to present the key insights into the issue of business networks in the cross-border regions in a post-enlargement era. It proceeds along the following lines: after having confronted the theoretical propositions on the topic with empirical evidence, a case study of a historically integrated cross-border network underpins this literature overview with primary data and highlights the perspectives and limitations of the business networking potential for a case region. The article finishes by sketching a research agenda that aims at reconciling the different views on the development of cross-border business networks and calls for new empirical research.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229