The monitoring system is also tested against its ability to analyse specific geographic features. Cross-border areas have been selected for this demonstration. For the Baltic Sea Region, particular concern has been given to the border areas between EU and non-EU countries, i.e. to the borders with Belarus and Russia.
We have identified border regions in the BSR according to the official ESPON typology “Border regions - internal and external”. This typology considers all regions participating in the core areas of cross-border cooperation programmes in the programming period 2007-2013. In the EU/EFTA part of the BSR this implies 37 NUTS 3 regions that participate in programmes involving countries outside both the EU and EFTA. We have extended this typology so that the R. of Karelia, and the oblasts of Murmansk, Leningrad, Novgorod, and Kaliningrad in NW Russia as well as Brest, Grodno and Vitebsk oblasts in Belarus are included as border regions. By doing this, we are with these 45 regions (out of the 238 in total) able to capture the most significant border dimension also between the eastern and western BSR. It can be noted though that no Danish or (BSR) German regions participate in external CBC programmes. This affects the outcome of the analysis to a certain extent.
By focussing on external border regions only we have thus excluded all internal border regions between separate EU MS of the BSR. The rationale for this is basically twofold. On the one hand many EU and EFTA Member States, particularly the Nordic countries, are thoroughly integrated and the border status as such does not imply a substantially different relative socioeconomic stance vis-à-vis the non-border areas of these countries. On the other hand close to half of all BSR regions within EU/EFTA would be characterised as internal border regions, something which from an analytic point of view would not add value to the analysis, rather the contrary. This particularly since more than four fifths of thus identified non-border areas would be Polish or German interior regions. Furthermore, 26 NUTS 3 regions are both internal and external border regions at the same time, and an analysis of such overlapping groups of regions is conceptually confusing.