Developing Sustainable Trans-border Regions: The need for Business Diplomats, Entrepreneurial Politicians and Cultural Ambassadors

The objective of this paper is to focus on one aspect of European regional integration which has been given insufficient attention so far by scholars and policy analysts alike. In particular, the question which this articles attempts to answer is how to nurture the development of sustainable trans-border regional cooperation and trans-border integration. The large majority of existing regional studies focus on competitiveness of intra-national regions like Baden-Würtemberg (South-Western Germany) or Lombardy (Northern Italy).

A few studies focus on trans-border regions like the Upper Rhine Valley or Lake of Constance region but in general little information is available on cross-border investment patterns, cross-border firm ownership and migration flows of people across common borders. Equally absent are suggestions for proactive social roles which could help integration of a cross-border region over time and increase the competitiveness of a transborder region. This paper aims at addressing this missing link in regional studies and proposes social roles which could facilitate deepening of trans-border integration. The social roles proposed are Business Diplomat, Entrepreneurial Politician and Cultural Ambassador. These social roles are proposed as complementary social competencies for businessmen, government official and representatives of social society who play an leading role in trans-border cooperation. The tri-national region of the Upper Rhine Valley region is used to illustrate the potential usefulness of these new concepts. The area in question encompasses neighbouring provinces of Switzerland (Basle), France (Alsace) and Germany (Baden).

Saner, R., Yiu, L.; "Developing Sustainable Trans-Border Regions: The need for Business Diplomats, Entrepreneurial Politicians and Cultural Ambassadors". Nachhaltige Räumliche Entwicklung auf dem Europäischen Kontinent. Willy Kraus; Paul Trappe (Hrgs.). Peter Lang AG: Berne, 2000.

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Strenghtening Cooperation in Cross-Border Regions in the European Countries