Recent trends in general territorial development in the BSR point towards increasing spatial polarisation further aggravating the already existing unbalanced regional structures.
Certain trends however also point in the opposite direction leading to more balanced development and increasing convergence, not least the rapidly decreasing east-west divide economic divide.
Employment growth in the BSR prior to the 2008 crisis acted cohesively, the subsequent reduction in jobs however had a sharply polarising effect, testifying of the periphery’s weak resilience in face of external economic shocks.
In terms of specific types of BSR territories, the statistical messages are, with certain distortions, fairly clear: these areas are with the exception of coastal areas generally lagging behind in most aspects of socioeconomic development.
At the same time harnessing such territories pose considerable possibilities. The economic contribution for example of border regions in the total BSR value-added 2009-2010 was more than 13%, that of sparse regions 11.4%, remote regions for 11.4%, and non-metropolitan regions close to 38%.
Bringing all BSR regions that lag behind the EU 2020 employment target up to target levels would imply more than two million new jobs created in the region.