The fall of the USSR and the European integration resulted in an increased importance of the relations between the EU and post-Soviet nations such as Russian Federation. This MA thesis study will focus on the issues of cross-border cooperation between Russia and the European Union, with a special emphasis on the role of Euroregions, in particular, those of Karelia and Euroregion Pskov-Livonia.
Purpose of the Study
This research intends to examine the Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) process between Russia and the EU Member States, after the 2004 enlargement. I would like to investigate this aspect of relations between Russia and the EU, with a specific focus on Euroregions. My research purpose is to evaluate the performance of CBC in the example of Euroregions, to compare and contrast the result attained by the existing Euroregions and to identify the reasons and the causes for success in some, and slow development in others.
The paper will also attempt to demonstrate the significance of policy tools implemented within these Euroregions’ institutional frameworks for the further advancement of EU-Russia cross-border cooperation. The study will place a special emphasis on the cooperative instruments developed by local and regional authorities on both sides of the EU-Russia border, while situating them within a larger system of bilateral relations between these international actors. Simultaneously, there will be explored the theoretical and historical context of Euroregion-based model of cross-border cooperation, with a view to applying the conclusions to the situation in Euroregions Karelia and Pskov-Livonia. Thus, it would be possible to contribute to the construction of a more case study-based model of EU-Russia relations.
Aim and goals of the research:
to analyze the channels of influence of the European organizations of cross-border cooperation on the decision-making process in the EU and Russia.
to perform the comparative analysis of the legislation in the field of cross-.border cooperation between Russia and neighboring European states in the field and to identify the influence that the EU legislation has on approximating the Russian legislation to its norms and standards.
to examine the factors and the conditions of activity of the Euroregions,
to identify what constitute the causes for success in the development of CBC with some countries, and what are the reasons of low development in the example of others.
to draw parallels between them, to find out the factors and the causes influencing their development.
For the purposes of this study, the following definitions shall be utilized. Cross-border regionalism refers to “a spatially integrated approach to problem-solving involving actors from local, regional and central levels” (Wesley Scott, 1999, p.606). As cross-border cooperation may be viewed as the instrument of such problem-solving, this study will proceed from the assumption that the latter is structural, rather than functional phenomenon. Euroregions do not correspond to any legislative or government institution, do not have direct political power, while being represented by an association of local and regional authorities on the both sides of the national border that is charged with maintaining common private and public law structures. This specificity of Euroregions as spatial and functional international actors will determine the current study’s focus.
The theory I will base my research on is neo-functionalism, since it gives an explanation of the manner how the integration in economic and functional sectors lead to pressure for political integration due to spillover effects and unintended consequences. In this respect, the key role of the supranational organization can foster further integration. In the light of neo-functionalism, I will examine the potential that Euroregions may have to further qualitatively improve the legal framework, the infrastructure, the general regional development and to put pressure on the bureaucracy for further development, coming out of the reasons of common economic and functional benefit of the parties.
The following research questions will be explored by the author:
1. What is the focus of the cooperation frameworks established between Russian and EU border region authorities in respective Euroregions (economic, cultural, socio-political, etc.)?
2. Are the EU-Russia cross-border cooperation in Euroregions Karelia and Pskov-Livonia influenced by the inter-state relations, and if not, what are the reasons for this phenomenon?
3. How do the mechanisms of coordination between Russian and EU authorities in Euroregions Karelia and Pskov-Livonia relate to wider inter-state relations’ structures?
4. How does the experience of EU-Russia cross-border cooperation in Euroregions Karelia and Pskov-Livonia compare with overall account of EU-Russia relations in respective functional spheres (economic and cultural cooperation)?
Proceeding from the concept of transnational regionalization, this study assumes that the EU-Russia cooperation within the structures of Euroregions Karelia and Pskov-Livonia is bound to facilitate the development of intra-regional structures of cooperation, which might later give rise to closer economic and cultural integration within the respective cross-border areas. Subsequently, present forms of such cooperation are construed as the initial stage of the respective transnational networks’ development.
Given the study’s focus, this research will be based on the case study qualitative research design strategy, with emphasis on the respective phenomena’s embedding within the specific temporal and spatial situation. The qualitative methods to be used in the course of this study may include both fieldwork (interviews) and secondary data collection (requiring access to the relevant databases and archives of both EU and Russian local authorities and non-governmental organizations); and analysis, with a focus on the core patterns present in the data findings. Such research design will contribute to holistic understanding of the subject under consideration.