Annedore Bergfeld, Thilo Lang, Robert Nadler, Andreas Wust
IREAS – Institute for Structural Policy, Prague (Czech Republic);Research Group „Regional Policy and European Integration“, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, (Poland)
Federal Employment Agency (Regional Directorate Saxony)
An analysis of cross-border labour mobility in the border triangle of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic
With the Eastern Enlargement on 1 May 2004 Poland and the Czech Republic joined the European Union. Both countries border on the Federal State of Saxony in Germany. Following the logics of the EU single market, first partnerships were developed between the neighbouring regions in the border triangle. In 2007, these early partnerships were formalized through the foundation of the EURES-TriRegio. This cross-border region comprises the two German Direktionsbezirke Chemnitz and Dresden, the two Polish Podregions Jeleniogórski and Wa?brzych and the three Czech districts Karlovy Vary, Ustí nad Labem and Liberec.
Until 2025, a continuous shrinkage of the resident population is expected for the EURES-TriRegio, meaning about 500,000 inhabitants less then today. Furthermore, experts forecast that this shrinkage will lead to a regional disparity in terms of the available labour force. Main reasons are the comparably high average age of workers, the on-going emigration of young and skilled people, and the entrance of cohorts with low birth rates into the labour market. On the other side, economic growth and technological progress lead to new regional demands in labour. In specific sectors labour shortages are starting to threaten economic prosperity. As a strategy to counteract these developments, labour market experts and policy makers seek for reducing existing barriers to cross-border labour mobility within the border triangle. Transparency about the specific labour demand and supply in the three sub-regions as well as permeable national borders and labour market institutions are considered important steps to actualize cross-border exchange.
The EURES-TriRegio project analysed the recent developments in cross-border mobility (commuting and migration) since the EU accession of Poland and the Czech Republic. The researchers put a specific focus on the effects of the implementation of the freedom of movement for Polish and Czech workers in 2011. Furthermore, the remaining barriers for the cross-border integration of the EURES-TriRegio labour market have been examined. The main research questions were:
Combining an analysis of statistical data, a set of expert interviews from all three sub-regions as well as stakeholder workshops, the project team aimed at enhancing cross-border exchange between key actors and at deriving policy recommendations for a smooth integration of the EURES-TriRegio cross-border labour market.
The results of the study contain a comparative data analysis of the EURES-TriRegio characteristics from demographical and economical point of view. Based on the analysis of the mobility and labour interdependencies push and pull factors of the cross-border interrelations were discussed. In all three subregions supplementary interviews with experts of the labour market took place. Beside the analysis and a comparative literatur review, the interviews constituted the basis for the recommended actions. Together with the Ferderal Empolyment Agency and the regional decision makers of the three expert workshops the results and approaches of action were discussed.