External border regions represent a large economic contribution potential that still today appears underutilised. Between 2009 and 2010, border regions accounted for more than 13 % of the total BSR economic growth, a value-added far beyond their relative share of the economy
Border regions in general still today perform worse than the rest of the BSR, and they are particularly severely handicapped when examined in their national context.
Net migration in external border areas is down to less than half that of their respective countries, employment change some 11 % worse, unemployment rate some 5 %-units higher, GDP/capita 12 % below, and accessibility some 18 % below.
Border regions appear very vulnerable to external economic shocks. Following the economic crisis of 2008, these regions have experienced a much steeper fall in e.g. migration or a much larger relative decline in employment than have the non-border areas of the BSR.
Remote, sparse and rural border regions appear performing worse than other border regions, but the results are not unequivocal.
The national cross-border material welfare gaps within the BSR are primarily on the decrease. Most, in relative terms, large national gaps in the BSR are between eastern BSR countries, albeit also between Finland and Norway on the one hand and BSR Russia on the other, the differences are still also substantial.
Despite being severely handicapped particularly in a national context, the lack of development of external border regions does not appear to particularly reinforce neither the east-west nor the north-south divide of the BSR as such. Most border regions are fairly urbanised which implies less focus also on the urban-rural divide.
Reduced cross-border disparities along external BSR borders aid in achieving generic territorial cohesion goals.