This paper aims at exploring and analysing on a comparative basis the impact of the East enlargement of the EU on border regions in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia. In order to achieve the overall objective, the paper will first provide a definition and identification of border regions in the candidate countries and, then, a descriptive analysis of their relative position within each country and with respect to the EU-15 average. Thirdly, it will develop an econometric model able to analyse the determinants of regional specialization and growth in different type of regions (internal vs border; western versus eastern border regions, etc.). The results will be used to understand which are the winning and loosing regions in this process, in terms of regional growth prospects. This classification will be used to evaluate the likely distributional implications of enlargement for the accession countries under considerations. The overall empirical results, though limited in some counts, may serve as a reminder of border regions’ challenges. They allow to identify present patterns and trends, and represent a good baseline to make inference on what changes border regions in candidate countries might expect the integration process to bring.
economic integration border regions industry location transition countries