Cross-Border ‘mobilities’ in the Austrian-Hungarian and Austrian-Slovak Border Regions

Cross-Border ‘mobilities’ in the Austrian-Hungarian and Austrian-Slovak Border Regions

September 13, 2018

Working Paper

Along the borders between the “old“ and the ”new” EU, where sizeable differences in income and economic development persist, cross-border commuting and other forms of economically based cross-border relations have become increasingly relevant.

This working paper analyses the perceptions of experts and civil servants of the effects of Eastern European enlargement in the Austrian-Hungarian and the Austrian-Slovak border regions with a particular focus on the labour market and the education sector.

Whilst labour mobility between these countries is mainly unilaterally directed towards Austria, the Austrian-Slovak border region is also characterised by a slightly growing mobility of managers as well as residential mobility towards Austria. In contrast, the findings suggest that labour mobility between Hungary and Austria not only is but would stay unidirectional.

The authors also suggest that cross-border mobility in the region goes beyond labour mobility and includes residential (e.g. Slovaks building houses in Austria) and educational mobility (e.g. Hungarian citizens enrolling children in the Austrian school system).

Overall, the authors argue, cross-border mobility stays to be shaped by the specific spatial, economic and cultural conditions characteristic for a border region. They conclude that the abolition of the borders between the EU Member States are thus a necessary but not a sufficient condition for stronger regional integration which still mainly depends on the politics of cross-border mobility of Member States and regional and municipal administrations.

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