Belgian-Dutch cross-border governance: the reasons behind low levels of cross-border mobility.
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This master thesis investigates the topic of cross-border governance and cross-border labour mobility in the border area Flanders-Netherlands. This is one of many border regions identified within the EU, which receive additional financing provided through the Interreg program to facilitate the development of the border area and contribute to the goals of Cohesion Policy. Regional governance is different in cross-border areas due to the different environment it has to be organised in. Therefore, this thesis aims to research what the exact differences are, as well as how they can potentially hamper cooperation, and what can be done about it. An analytical framework is presented that is used to assess current state and perspectives of the Belgian-Dutch border region. For the empirical analysis, various documents have been analysed and stakeholder interviews have been conducted. The former will provide a better understanding of the higher government tiers on the cross-border matters in general and in region specifically. The latter will allow to collect more detailed insights and views on the cross-border region from the practitioners on the lower levels of government. This thesis will conclude that, in general, cross-border governance is hard to organise and perform, as it presents many unique challenges rooting from the nature of cross-border cooperation. There are many obstacles which can stay in the way of successful development, and the case of cross-border cooperation in the region of the Belgian-Dutch border is not an exemption. However, opportunities for more deep cooperation and integration are also present and can be seized to promote additional development in the area. Cross-border region development is important not only because it contributes to equal growth and cohesion, but also because such areas play a critical role in the economy and future of the EU.
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