Democratic processes in the countries of Central-Eastern Europe
and their role in trans-border cooperation’s optimization



International relations on the modern stage of their development are characterized by intensive integration processes, where trans-border cooperation plays an important role. Ukraine due to profitable geopolitical location has great potential for its development as 19 from 25 regions of the state are bordering and the external border is the longest among European countries. The support of bordering regions’ cooperation is an instrument of social-economic region’s development and making territories’ disproportions softer[1].

Trans-border cooperation means any common actions directed on strengthening and deepening of good neighboring relations between territory societies or authorities which are under legislation of two or more agreement sides, and making the necessary agreements or deals for this purpose. Trans-border cooperation is implemented within territory societies’ competence or power bodies, defined by internal legislation. Creation of Euroregions is one of the forms of trans-border cooperation between units of territorial administration in the neighboring states according to two-sides or many-sides agreements concluded to solve common problems or attain similar tasks, with the use of agreed upon mechanisms[2].

Scientific and theoretical aspects of the problem are based on research of real opportunities of democracy, which helps optimize trans-border cooperation. Mention is often made of the creation of such conditions which after the comparison of advantages and disadvantages require trans-border cooperation of Euroregions in central-European transformational space in particular.

In the context of the researched problem and on the basis of scientific analysis performance the author thinks that the basic democratic factors of trans-border cooperation between the countries of Central-Eastern Europe on the modern (within the new fourth wave of democratic development) stage of historical development can be the following reasons[3]:

First, market transformations, which have a definite immediate impact on social-economic sphere’s reforms in general and for needs of trans-border cooperation in particular.

Second, the expansion of regions’ autonomy, of territory-administrative units and local self-government within national states and combining of their efforts for initiation and expansion of trans-border cooperation between them.

Third, general democratic process of public society’s and its institutions’ development, their significance in expansion of territory societies’ and individuals’ initiatives on different borders of states and the development of common profitable dialogue in the fields of economy, science, culture, education, ecology and environmental protection, etc.

Fourth, the needs in trans-border cooperation with a view to eliminate or decrease tension in some separate states or their bordering regions in the context of social, economic, ecological, and other problems’ solution.

Fifth, the correlation between a general level of democratic transformations in particular countries of Central-Eastern Europe, their joining or cooperation within international organizations of regional or subregional direction and opportunities, reality and perspectives of trans-border cooperation’s development in the sense of its political and economic necessity.

Sixth, the unification of judicial field and legislative basis of particular states, their territory-administrative and self-government units with a view of general opportunities’ expansion to cooperation on inter-state level and its particular implementation in the framework of trans-border relations of various kind.

Seventh, the increasing significance of political monitoring as well as political management in common border regions with a view to find and develop the most important aspects of further expansion and activation of trans-border cooperation and creation, improvement of its effective management.

Eighth, minimizing of bureaucracy and corruption risks, through expansion of control and discussions relating to central state, local self-governing and Euroregion interstate bodies, which have direct, coordinative or mediating relation to trans-border cooperation’s implementation.

Special attention is drawn to judicial aspects of Ukrainian legislation’s development in the framework of its unification with general European[4], including the expansion and optimization of trans-border cooperation[5].

Getting really closer to the European Union border, the necessity of strategic tasks: implementation of Ukrainian integration into the EU, the importance of regional cooperation’s development, which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in Ukraine on the 28th of April, 2002587[6].

The judicial basics of Euroregions’ development are established by the European convention concerning the basic principles of trans-border cooperation between territory societies or power bodies in 1980 (Ukraine joined the Convention in 1993) European local self-government (ratified by the Supreme Council of Ukraine in 1997)[7].

The development of Euroregions on the territory of Ukraine is implemented according to requirements of legislation, the Laws of Ukraine „About local self-government in Ukraine” (280/97 – the Supreme Council), „About local state administrations” (586-14), „About external economic activity” (959-12), The Order of Ukraine’s president „About the state regional policy’s conception” (341/2001) and agreement on partnership and cooperation between European societies, their states-members and Ukraine, other international agreements of Ukraine.

Since 1993 such Euroregions have been created as: „Bug” (1995), „The lower Danube” (1998), „The upper Prut” (2000), „Carpathian Euroregion” (1993), „Slobozhanschyna” (2003), „The Dnieper” (2003), etc. To their functioning from Ukrainian side such regions are involved: Volhynia, Chernivetska, Carpathian, Odesska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Harkivska, Chernigivska regions and from bordering foreign countries administrative-territory units of Poland, Belarus, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, Russia, Austria, Germany, France.

The main directions of created Euroregions are common efforts in economic sphere development of social, informational and production infrastructure, building and modernization of border’s infrastructure; the development of transportation’s network, scientific and cultural cooperation; the environmental protection; experience exchange between corresponding bodies of executive power and bodies of self-government, common assistance in emergency cases; fight against crime and illegal migration, etc.

The major tasks of the further Euroregions’ development are[8]:

·   the support for common profitable relations with neighbouring countries, countries-candidates, and the EU countries;

·   implementation of actions for gradual elimination of obstacles (administrative, judicial), which prevent from trans-border interaction’s development;

·   changing of Ukrainian legislation relating to regional cooperation to meet international norms.

The programme of Euroregions development is designed to create the necessary conditions for participation of Ukrainian regions in trans-border cooperation.

According to defined objective the major directions are announced to be[9]:

·   designing and implementation of regional and local programmes concerning the development of Euroregions;

·   coordination of state, field, regional and special development programmes for Euroregions; which is possible within Euroregions with a view to use state and local budget resources effectively;

·   improvement of Ukrainian legislation in the sphere of trans-border cooperation and development of Euroregions;

·   creation of monitoring system, control system, informational support for Euroregions’ development;

·   creation of conditions for transportation, customs, border infrastructure, etc.[10]

Financing of separate regional cooperation’s projects and programmes within Euroregions is implemented due to local budget costs and other resources, which are not prohibited by legislation.

The state support of Euroregions’ development can be implemented by means of:

·   financing of corresponding actions in agreed upon order due to state budget costs;

·   participation in projects’ implementation, which are supported by foreign states and international organizations;

·   facilitating the international technical assistance and arranging special international organization funds;

The implementation of Euroregion’s development programme gives an opportunity to take trans-border cooperation on a new quality level, facilitates the integration of Ukraine into the European Union and solution of current social-economic, ecological, transportation-communication and other problems of border regions’ development.

The Strategy of Ukrainian integration into the EU, approved by the President, presupposes the combination of general European dimension of cooperation with regional integration and deepening of field cooperation between Ukraine and the EU[11]. Taking into consideration the typical for the EU states tendency of taking a part of state authorities from national level on subnational one, regional aspect of Ukrainian integration into European structures is becoming especially important.

Decentralization of management, as one of the administrative reforms in Ukraine[12], presupposes the increasing role of regional state power bodies and local self-government in implementation of economic and structural reforms, diversification of economy in various areas of the country, in the management of state and public property, the development of inter-regional and trans-border cooperation. At the same time the role of the state in direction and coordination of central, local power bodies as well as self-government bodies activity concerning ensuring of economic state safety in financial, social, taxation, currency policy and other social spheres is being increased.

The development and judicial approval of the State regional policy conception enables the state not intruding into operational activity of local executive power bodies and self-government bodies separate enterprises, with the help of economic means to facilitate the entire regions’ development, formation of such territory and field structure of regional economies, which correspond to general state interests and regional interests. Nowadays, the judicial and financial limits of their role in territory management, prevailing field approach cause social contradictions and make a balanced development slow down[13].

The integration of Ukraine into European structures is impossible without production and implementation of such regional management model, which would correspond to regional policy of the European Union’s principles, and facilitate the establishment of the new forms of cooperation between a center and regions, the internal inter-regional cooperation and international territories’ cooperation[14]. That’s why the major priority questions of regional state policy for the nearest time in the trans-border cooperation development within Euroregions „The Bug”, „The lower Danube”, „The upper Prut”, „The Carpathian” regions are:

·   organization and coordination of actions, targeted on the support of economic, scientific, ecological, cultural and educational cooperation;

·   facilitation in establishing contacts with international organizations and institutions;

·   creation of common funds, associations, implementation of common projects development, signing inter-regional agreements which ensure the most effective usage and development of single space Euroregions’ potential;

·   the initiation of terms and procedures agreements concerning implementation of technical EU assistance Tasi and PHARE with a view to expand the opportunities of regional and local power bodies in Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania, to implement common trans-border projects;

·   the state support of scientific researches, which relate to regional problems, as well as involvement for their fulfillment of technical EU assistance;

·   the continuation of regional state programmes’ implementation as well as the programmes of social-economic regional development and trans-border cooperation.

The implementation of actions concerning informational support for Euroregions’ development is the following[15]:

·   the introduction of information exchange with Euroregions’ participants;

·   the creation of Web-sites, organization of series’ publications with a view to highlight the trans-border cooperation’s and regional development’s questions;

·   conducting seminars, conferences, etc., concerning regional cooperation and regional development.

In general it is possible to state that in the sense of democratic processes’ influence of social-political life in the countries of Central-Eastern European region on the development and further trans-border cooperation’s optimizing there are four major factors which have special significance[16]:

a)      democratic changes’ tempo in particular countries;

b)      the character of significant democratic changes in the internal political segments;

c)      the level of political regime stability, and its course’s predictability;

d)      the depth of changes and achievements on the way to public society’s formation.

The above mentioned factors, first of all, determine the indicator for each state, which is defined by the term „credit rating” or in extensive understanding „credibility rating”. If in the first case the economic opportunities of a country are meant, relating to receiving of external credits (the higher the credit rating, the more profitable for them the conditions are), than in the second case it should be spoken about real and potential society’s opportunities estimation in adequate and effective functioning on the modern postindustrial (informational) stage of development. Here the optimizing of trans-border cooperation is impossible within low credit rating and not highly estimated social resources of the given country. It should be taken into consideration that so-called credit ceiling exists. It means that the level of trust to any activity individual on the territory of the country ca not exceed the corresponding level of this country[17]. So, the success or failures of cooperation, connected with trans-border sectors directly depend on the general image of the state (states) and societies’ achievements or opportunities.

Besides this one more group of factors which form the content, tempo, character and perspectives of trans-border cooperation between countries of Central-Eastern Europe is defined by the international life factors’ influence. First of all it is spoken about[18]:

a)      the significance of external policy orientation, the main vector of course strategy on international arena;

b)      the choice of strategic partners and forms of cooperation with them;

c)      the attitude towards the Euroatlantic integration, first of all, relating to the plans of joining the organizational structures of the NATO and the European Union;

d)      the estimation of opportunities and perspectives of trans-border relations from the point of particular positive achievements and the progress on social development levels.

Only combination of internal and external policy can define the necessity, real need and particular forms of introduction and implementation of cooperation for each particular country within trans-border relations. As far as Ukraine is concerned, let’s note the following. On the 15th of March 2006 the Cabinet of Ministers approved the order „About the state programme’s approval of trans-border cooperation development for 20072010”.

According to this order, the Ministry of Economics in Ukraine were to develop the project of The state trans-border cooperation development. Such programme for 20072010 was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on the 27th of December 2006 and has been valid since the 1st of January 2007[19]. The aim of this programme is activation of social-economic, scientific-technical, ecological, cultural and other relations between subjects of trans-border cooperation. The main tasks are in activation of external economic activity of regions, the development of small and middle entrepreneurship, the environmental protection, social sphere development.


[1] З. Бройде, Єврорегіон „Верхній Прут” – конституювання, конкретні завдання, перспективи, [In:] Регіони Східної Європи: Інтеграційні очікування та конфронтаційні небезпеки: Матеріали Міжнародної наукової конференції (Чернівці, 1819 вересня 2000 р.), Чернівці, 2000, p. 127.

[2] The resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers in Ukraine: Про затвердження Державної програми розвитку транскордонного співробітництва на 2007–2010 рр., „Урядовий кур’єр”, 2007, pp. 2324.

[3] S. S. Trojan, J. Tyszczenko, Wpływ procesów demokratyzacji w państwach Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej na współpracę transgraniczną, [In:] Granice i pogranicza nowej Unii Europejskiej: Z badań regionalnych, etnicznych i lokalnych, Ed. M. Malikowski, D. Wojakowski, Kraków 2005, pp. 98117.

[4] Трансформація політичної системи, Віче”, 2007, № 14.

[5] See, from example: О. Вишняков, Правові аспекти транскордонного співробітництва між територіальними громадами або владами, [In:] На шляху до Європи. Український досвід єврорегіонів, Київ, Логос, 2000, pp. 3548; В. Куранин, Правовые основы трансграничного сотрудничества органов местного самоуправления Украины, [In:] Регіони Східної Європи: інтеграційні очікування та конфронтаційні небезпеки: Матеріали міжнародної наукової конференції, Чернівці, 1819 вересня 2000, Чернівці, БУКРЕК, 2000, pp. 4852

[6] The development programme of Euroregions, Approved by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers in Ukraine from the 29th of April 2002, № 587.

[7] European framework convention about the main principles of trans-border cooperation between territory societies or power bodies, The Council of Europe, Українська правнича фундація, 33 pp.

[8] Державна програма розвитку транскордонного співробітництва на 20072010 рр. [в:]

[9] Ibidem.

[10] The development programme of Euroregions, Approved by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers in Ukraine from the 29th of April 2002, № 587.

[11] Закон України Про транскордонне співробітництво від 24.06.20041861-IV, [In:]

[12] See: Трансформація політичної системи, „Віче”, 2007, № 14.

[13] See: S. S. Trojan, J. Tyszczenko, Wpływ procesów demokratyzacji w państwach Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej na współpracę transgraniczną.

[14] See, for example: І. Студенніков, Транскордонне співробітництво як дзеркало регіональної політики в Україні, „Економічний часопис”, ХХІ, 2005, № 1–2.

[15] See, for example: Регіональна Політика та Регіональне Співробітництво, [In:]

[16] See: S. S. Trojan, J. Tyszczenko, Wpływ procesów demokratyzacji w państwach Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej na współpracę transgraniczną.

[17] See: А. В. Новиков, Сколько стоит образ страны, „География”, 1999,44, p. 12.

[18] See: S. S. Trojan, J. Tyszczenko, Wpływ procesów demokratyzacji w państwach Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej na współpracę transgraniczną.

[19] The resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers in Ukraine: Про затвердження Державної програми розвитку транскордонного співробітництва на 2007–2010 рр., „Урядовий кур’єр”, 2007, pp. 2324.