The Relevance of Political Engagement and Transparency in Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) Environments: Analyzing Border Cities in Europe

  • Rui Alexandre Castanho WSB University, Faculty of Applied Sciences
Keywords: borderlands, cooperation, planning, sustainable development, territorial governance, management


Within European territories, exists a large number of borderlands comprising several Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) projects and strategies. However, these CBC relationships are known by a high level of complexity. Therefore, the study of all the variables and factors that could influence the success or failure of these CBC projects and strategies are critical to reaching long-lasting territorial sustainability. Contextually, the present paper analyzes the border cooperation of eight CBC projects (seventeen European cities) focusing on the political engagement and transparency. Furthermore, the study allows us to identify and isolate the four main critical factors to consider from a political perspective: (i) Connectivity - Movement between cities; (ii) Political transparency and commitment; (iii) Common objectives and master plans; and (iv) Young and talented people magnet.


Bacova, A., Puskar, B. & Vrablova, E. (2015) New Housing Models—Case Studies (Albena: SGEM), sgem2015/b62/s27.066.

Batista, T., Caballero, C., Ceballos, F., Carriço, C., Mateus, J., Lopes, H. & IDE-OTALEXC (2013) The first crossborder SDI between Portugal and Spain: Background and development, Journal of Earth Science and Engineering, 3(6), p. 393,

Buis, H. (2008) The role of local government associations in increasing the effectiveness of city-to-city cooperation, Habitat International, 33(2), pp. 190-194, habitatint.2008.10.017.

Castanho, R., Loures, L., Fernández, J. & Pozo L. (2018) Identifying critical factors for success in cross border cooperation (CBC) development projects, Habitat International, 72, pp. 92-99,

Castanho, R. A. (2019) Identifying Processes of Smart Planning, Governance and Management in European Border Cities, Learning from City‐to‐City Cooperation (C2C), Sustainability, 11, p. 5476,

Castanho, R. A., Vulevic, A., Naranjo Gómez, J., Cabezas, J., Fernández-Pozo, L., Loures, L. & Kurowska-Pysz, J. (2019) Political Commitment and Transparency as a Critical Factor to Achieve Territorial Cohesion and Sustainable Growth. European Cross-Border Projects and Strategies, Regional Science Policy and Practice, 11(2), pp. 423-435,

Castanho, R. (2017) Sustainable Urban Planning in transboundary areas: analysis of critical factors for territorial success. Ph.D. Thesis (Badajoz: University of Extremadura (UEx)).

Castanho, R., Cabezas, J., Fernández-Pozo, L., Vulevic, A., Naranjo Gómez, J., Martín Gallardo, J. & Loures, L. (2018) Common Regional Development Strategies on Iberian Territory. Envisioning New Horizons: Post 2020, In: Mora, A. J. (ed.) Enfoques en la Planificación Territorial y Urbanística (Azanzadi: Thomson Reuteurs Aranzadi). pp. 293-303.

Calzada, I. (2017) ̈Urbanidad postnacional más allá de los estados (pluri)nacion(ales) en la EU: comparación de Escocia, Cataluña y el País Vasco, DEBATS, Revista De Cultura, Poder y Sicedad, 131(1), pp. 51-64.

Decoville, A. & Durand F. (2017) Challenges and Obstacles in the Production of Cross-Border Territorial Strategies: The Example of the Greater Region, Transactions of the Associations of the European Schools of Planning Journal, 1(1), pp. 65-78, 2017.01.005.

Dominguez, L. & Pires, I. (2014) Cross-border cooperation structures in Europe. Learning from the past, looking to the future (Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang).

Dühr, S., Stead, D. & Zonneveld, W. (2007) The Europeanization of spatial planning through territorial cooperation, Planning, Practice & Research, 22(3), pp. 291-307, 02697450701688245.

Fadigas, L. (2015) Urbanismo e Território – As políticas públicas (Lisboa: Portugal).

ESPON (2013) TANGO - Territorial Approaches for New Governanc, available at: (October 3, 2019).

Eurostat (2017) Eurostat – Statistics Explained, available at: (October 3, 2019).

Fadigas, L. (2017) Território e Poder. O uso, as políticas e o ordenamento (Lisboa: Silabo).

Faludi, A. (2013) Territorial Cohesion and Subsidiarity under the European Union Treaties: A Critique of the «Territorialism» Underlying, Regional studies, 47(9), pp. 1594-1606.

Gamon, W. & Gómez, J. (2019) Main Problems of Railway Cross-Border Transport Between Poland, Germany and Czech Republic, Sustainability, 11, p. 4900,

Gualini, E. (2017) Political economy of scale in European spatial policy, In: Fedeli, V. & Doria, L. (eds.) Rethinking European Spatial Policy as a Hologram: Actions, Institutions, Discourses (London: Routledge).

HelsinkiRegion.Fi (2019) HelsinkiRegion.Fi, available at: (October 13, 2019).

Hooghe, L. & Marks, G. (2004) Contrasting Visions of Multi-Level Governance, In: Bache, I. & Flinders, M. (eds.) Multi-Level Governance (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 15-30.

Huisseling, D. & Mora Aliseda, J. (2019) Los Movimientos Soberanistas Como Amenaza a la Integridad Territorial de los Estados y de la UE, Revista Extremeña de Sociología Almenaran, 11, pp.59-72.

Knieling, J. & Othengrafen, F. (2015) Planning culture—A concept to explain the evolution of planning policies and processes in Europe?, European Planning Studies, 23(11), pp.2133- 2147,

Kurowska-Pysz, J. (2016) Opportunities for Cross-Border Entrepreneurship Development in a Cluster Model Exemplified by the Polish-Czech Border Region, Sustainability, 8(3), p. 230,

Kurowska-Pysz, J., Castanho, R.A. & Loures, L. (2018) Sustainable Planning of Cross-Border Cooperation: A Strategy for Alliances in Border Cities, Sustainability, 10(5),p. 1416,

Loures, L., Castanho, R.A., Vulevic, A., Naranjo Gómez, J., Cabezas, J. & Fernández-Pozo, L. (2018) The Multi-variated Effect of City Cooperation in Land Use Planning and Decision-making Processes - a European Analysis, In: Ergen, M. (eds.) Urban Agglomerations, pp. 87-106.

Loures, L., Castanho, R.A., Naranjo Gómez, J., Lousada, S., Fernández-Pozo, L., Cabezas, J. & Loures, A. (2019) Impactos Socioculturais da Cooperação T ransfronteiriça (CT) no Espaço Europeu, Fronteiras: Journal of Social, Technological and Environmental Science, 8(3), pp. 292-312,

Loures, L., Castanho, R., Naranjo, J., Cabezas, J., Fernández- Pozo, L. (2019) The influence of cross-border cooperation (CBC) in the fostering of entrepreneurship and regional development – a step closer to achieve major structural changes and sustainable cities within European Territory. Series: Entrepreneurship and Structural Change in Dynamic Territories, In: Carvalho, L., Rego, C., Lucas, M., Hérnandez, I. & Viana, A. (eds.) New Paths of Entrepreneurship Development (Springer), pp. 371-385.

Medeiros, E. (2015) Territorial impact assessment and cross-border cooperation. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 2(1), 97-115,

Medeiros, E. (2016) Territorial Impact Assessment and Public Policies: The case of Portugal and the EU, Public Policy. Port. J, 1, pp. 51-61.

Naranjo, J. M. (2016) Impacts on the social cohesion of mainland Spain’s future motorway and high-speed rail networks, Sustainability, 8(7), p. 624,

Naranjo-Gómez, J. M., Castanho, R. A., Cabezas-Fernández, J. & Loures, L. C. (2019) Evaluación de las Áreas de Servicio de la Alta Velocidad Ferroviaria en la España Peninsular desde un Enfoque SIG Multi-método, Revista de Estudios Andaluces, 37, pp. 184-208, rea.2019.i37.09.

Nauwelaers, C., Maguire, K. & Ajmone Marsan, G. (2013) The Case of Helsinki-Tallinn (Finland-Estonia) – Regions and Innovation: Collaborating Across Borders, OECD Regional Development Working Papers, 2013/19 (Paris: OECD Publishing),

Nicolini, E. & Pinto, M. (2013) Strategic vision of a Euro-Mediterranean port city: A case study of Palermo, Sustainability Journal, 2013(5), pp. 3941-3959.

OTALEX-C (2013) ATLAS, OTALEX-C. Direccíon General de Transportes, Ordenación del Territorio e Urbanismo. Consejeria de Fomento, Vivienda, Ordenación del Territorio y Turismo (Merida: Junta de Extyremadura).

Panagopoulos, T. & Loures, L. (2007) Reclamation of derelict industrial land in Portugal: Greening is not enough. Book of abstracts of the 10th European fórum on urban forestry, May 16-19, 2007, Germany: Gelsenkirchen.

Rabé, P., Toto, R. & Dhima S. (2013) Analyzing the Likely Impact of European Union Policies on Territorial Planning in Albania (Rotterdam: Netherlands government (MATRA)).

Ravesteijn, N., Evers, D. V. H. & Middleton, D. (2004) Unseen Europe: A Survey of EU Politics and its Impact on Spatial Development in the Netherlands. Rotterdam (Roterdam: NAi Publishers).

Reitel, B. (2015) Are Cross-Border Urban Spaces European Integration Patterns at Local Level? Analysis of the Management of Urban Areas astride the «French Border». Borders of the European Union: Strategies of Crossing and Resistance, available at: (October 13, 2019).

Santos, R., Castanho, R. & Lousada, S. (2019) Return Migration and Tourism Sustainability in Portugal: Extracting Opportunities for Sustainable Common Planning in Southern Europe, Sustainability, 11, p. 5476,

Sohn, C. & Giffinger, R. (2015) A Policy Network Approach to Cross-Border Metropolitan Governance: The Cases of Vienna and Bratislava, European Planning Studies, 23(6), pp. 1187–1208.

Spirkova, D. & Ivanicka, K. (2009) Dynamics of Bratislava urban and housing development. New models for innovative management and urban dynamics (Faro: University of Algarve).

Stead, D. & Waterhout, B. (2008) Learning from the application of the ESDP: Influences on European Territorial Governance, disP: The Planning Review, 44(172), pp. 21-34,

Stverkova, H., Pohludka, M., Kurowska-Pysz, J. & Szczepanska-Woszczyna, K. (2018) Cross-Border Enterprepreneurship in Euroregion Beskydy, Polish Journal of Management Studies, 18(2), pp. 324-337.

Suchacek, J., Stverkova, H. & Kasik, J. (2018) Czech Machinery Cluster and Its Role in Sustainable Development of Moravian-Silesian Enterprises during the Post-Transformation Era, Sustainability, 10, p. 239.

Vulevic, A. (2016) Accessibility Concepts and Indicators in Transportation Strategic Planning Issues: Theoretical Framework and Literature Review, Logistics & Sustain- able Transport, 7(1), pp. 58-67.

Vulevic, A. (2013) Infrastructural Corridors and Their Influence on Spatial Development - Example of Corridor VII in Serbia, Ph.D. thesis (Belgrade: Faculty of Geography, University of Belgrade).

Vulevic, A., Djordjevic, D., Castanho, R.A. & Cabezas-Fernandez, J. (2019) Social Marketing and Their Related Challenges for the Limited Access for People Living with a Disability: A Serbian Case Study, In: Mercedes Galan-Ladero, M. & Alves, H. M. (eds) Case Studies on Social Marketing (Springer).

Yin, R. (1994) Case study research: Design and methods (London: Sage Publications).

Xian, S., Chan, K. & Qi, Z. (2015) Booming provincial-led North–South City-to-city cooperation in China: A case study of Suzhou-Suqian Industrial Park of Jiangsu Province, Cities, 46 (Supplement C), pp. 44-54,

Zamarriego, L (2017) ̈Los nacionalismos, de uno u otro signo, siempre tratan de escribir la historia a su manera ̈, Ehic. Pág. 8, available at: (November 11, 2019).