Dialogue between business and politics in the Danish-German border region.

Projekter: ProjektForskning



Southern Denmark’s business community is internationally oriented and has perceived the location close to the German border as an advantage rather than a problem. European integration and the open borders have resulted in prosperous development. Businesses have increasingly integrated across the border, have improved cooperation and are increasingly lobbying for political influence south of the border, especially regarding infrastructure development. In the border region, political cooperation was institutionalized with the establishment of Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig in 1997. A joint business strategy was elaborated in 2005 (Schack and Dall Schmidt 2005). Politicians praise the success of cooperation in a narrative of “from against each other to with each other” (vom Gegeneinander zum Füreinander). The business chambers have established cooperation offices, and a Border Information Centre (Infocenter Grænse) counsels businesses and commuters on relevant issues when crossing the border. Frequent meetings of high-level politicians reiterate both sides aim to further improve cooperation and integrate the border region.

The current crisis of the EU has affected the border region manifold. The Danish referendum on easing the Danish 1993 opt-out on Home and Justice Affairs cooperation ended with a No. On 4 January 2016, Denmark reintroduced border controls in the form of physical presence of the police and the home guard at the major border crossings together with random passport control of incoming persons. It is quite obvious that the present random checks of primarily passenger cars and vans not have had a serious effect on businesses’ cross-border interactions. Still, traffic congestion at the major crossing-points has become a problem at certain peak hours, especially Saturdays during the summer holiday period. Business leaders of the region have made it clear that they do not support the idea of permanent and more consequent border controls, but instead advocate free movement across borders. Furthermore, the psychological consequences of the reintroduction of border controls are difficult to measure.

This project aims to analyse the ongoing dialogue between business and regional politics in Sønderjylland-Schleswig with the aim to get more knowledge on businesses’ and regional politics’ opportunities to improve regional development within a multilevel governance framework with a special focus on the step from political strategy to action. This is deemed relevant as stakeholders concede deficits in the implementation of the diverse existing regional development strategies for the border region.


Effektiv start/slut dato01/03/201730/10/2018