The Determinants of Transnational Cooperation Within the Framework of the Interreg Programme A Mixed Methods Analysis of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region and the Interreg North Sea Region
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This master thesis investigates the determinants of partnerships of European transnational cooperation projects within the framework of the European Union (EU) funding programme Interreg B. It specifically focuses on two cooperation programmes: the Interreg North Sea Region and the Interreg Baltic Sea Region. Based on the multi-level governance concept and the Europeanization approach, it examines reasons for and challenges of actors to cooperate in transnational project teams. The empirical investigation is based on a network analysis on existing transnational connections between the participating countries within the Interreg IV period (2007-2013) and the first call of the Interreg V period (2014-2020) as well as on semi-structured expert interviews. On an aggregated level, the findings suggest that countries are interconnected to varying degrees within the framework of the Interreg programme. With specific regard to the Interreg Baltic Sea Region for instance, there seems to be an east-west divide regarding the degree centrality of the countries and the share of project lead partners. It is shown that the administrative and financial capacities of the lead partners as well as pre-existing social connections and individual competences are of great relevance already during the application process – where actors from ‘Western Europe’ seem to have competitive advantages. In light of the specific requirements of the funding instrument, the findings suggest a mixed picture about the primary motives of actors to cooperate in Interreg projects.