Subregional Cross-Border Cooperation in Post-Communist Europe: Supporting and Supplementing European Union Integration Processes

Submitting Institution

University of Wolverhampton

Unit of Assessment

Area Studies

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Studies In Human Society: Political Science
Language, Communication and Culture: Literary Studies
History and Archaeology: Historical Studies

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Summary of the impact

Professor Martin Dangerfield's research has focused on subregional cooperation in post-Cold War Europe with special emphasis on interactions with broader European integration processes. Its significance was acknowledged by policy-making communities at national, subregional and EU level. Dangerfield was appointed to advisory roles in events that both debated and informed public policy and enhanced public awareness. These concerned multilateral foreign policy cooperation of new EU members, namely the Visegrad Group (VG), and conception, design and implementation of a major EU initiative — the `Macro-Regional Strategy'. Dangerfield's work has also been cited widely in relevant non-academic publications produced for policy analysis and to deliver recommendations.

Underpinning research

Dangerfield began studying subregional cooperation processes in post-communist Europe in 1996. The research has focused throughout on the interaction between subregional cooperation and integration with the EU, covering both the EU pre-accession and post-accession processes. In terms of impact, it is apposite to distinguish three main, albeit related and complimentary, themes of the work.

First, the political and economic significance of subregional economic integration and its evolution and dynamics. This research focused primarily on the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). The various studies identified important interactions between integration in CEFTA and EU pre-accession and demonstrated that subregional integration processes were a bona fide element of the broader EU accession effort. The first published piece appeared in a policy-oriented collection published in a CEFTA country (Czech Republic). The 2000 monograph Subregional Economic Cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe: The Political Economy of CEFTA (Reference 6) was the first — and only — major English-language study of CEFTA. It remains the key point of reference for academics and practitioners currently involved with CEFTA. Subsequent research covered CEFTA's evolution until the 2004 EU enlargement. This was disseminated in key academic sources such as the Journal of European Integration (2004), Perspectives on European Politics and Society (2002) along with chapters in edited collections.

Second, and essentially a sub-strand of the work on CEFTA, the emphasis on subregional cooperation in the Western Balkans. The following topics were covered: the shift of CEFTA's centre of gravity and reconfiguration — as 'CEFTA 2006' - as a South East European subregional economic integration framework; the role of other Central European subregional organizations, including the VG and Central European Initiative (CEI) in the Western Balkans; the links between subregional cooperation and EU integration efforts in the Western Balkan setting and the specific context of strong distrust of resistance to cross-border cooperation between former Yugoslav states. The findings were published in References 3 and 5. The research was also disseminated directly to the region, including the contribution to Reic's edited volume (Reference 4) and the presentation (as invited expert) entitled `Results and experience of "CEFTA 1993" — lessons for "CEFTA 2006"?', at the Round Table on Regional Cooperation and the Future of CEFTA, Europe House, Zagreb, Croatia, October 2007. See

The third strand also developed in the context of the impact of the 2004 EU enlargement. In 2004 Dangerfield was awarded a British Academy research grant to investigate the impact of EU enlargement on CEFTA, the VG and the CEI. This project opened up new avenues of subsequent investigation. In particular, the focus on the Visegrad Group and its foreign policy cooperation vis-à-vis `eastern neighbours' of the EU, which demonstrated both the value-added and limitations of this dimension VG of cooperation. This strand of research yielded articles in the Journal of Common Market Studies (2006; Reference 3), East European Politics and Society (2008; Reference 2) and Europe-Asia Studies (2009; Reference 1). Dissemination also occurred at eminent scholarly conferences (UACES, ECSA-C, EUSA) and encounters bringing together academics and practitioners

References to the research

1. M. Dangerfield (2009), `The Contribution of the Visegrad Group to the European Union's `Eastern' Policy: Rhetoric or Reality?', Europe-Asia Studies (Special Issue: `The European Union, Russia and the Shared Neighbourhood', ed. J. Gower and G. Timmins, 61.10. ISSN 0966-8136.DOI: 10.1080/09668130903278934.


2. M Dangerfield, (2008), `The Visegrád Group in the Expanded European Union: From Preaccession to Post-accession Cooperation', East European Politics and Society, 22.3. ISSN 0885-3254. DOI: 10.1177/08883254083115840.


3. M Dangerfield (2006), `Subregional Integration and EU Enlargement: Where next for CEFTA?', Journal of Common Market Studies, 44.2. ISSN 00219886. DOI: 10.1111/j1468-5965.2006.00624.x.


4. M Dangerfield (2005), `Subregional Cooperation and European Integration: Impact of the 5th EU Enlargement' in Z. Reic (ed), Enterprise in Transition, Split: University of Split. (ISBN 953-6024-70-5).

5. M Dangerfield (2004), 'Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans: Stabilisation Device or Integration Policy?', Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 5.2. ISSN 15705854. DOI: 10.1163/1568025041705286.


6. M Dangerfield, (2000), Subregional Economic Cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe: The Political Economy of CEFTA, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


The quality of underpinning research can be measured by the inclusion of References 3 and 5 in European Studies submissions for RAE 2008, and high standing of the journals in which References 1, 2, 3 and 5 have been published.

Research Grants: British Academy (Research Grant No. SG-37297): Subregional Cooperation and the Expanded European Union. Duration: 01/02/2004 to 31/01/2005 Value of award: £3952.

Details of the impact

The impact has taken two main forms:

  • Appointment as special advisor in public policy debates and activities to enhance public awareness of important policy initiatives at national, subregional and wider regional i.e. the EU) levels. This was based on the recognition that Dangerfield's research had clearly made relevant contributions to knowledge and understanding of subregional cooperation processes in terms of the nature of specific subregional organizations, the role of subregional cooperation in different parts of post-communist Europe and at specific points in time, and the relationship between subregional cooperation and the bigger 'game' of EU integration. The work on the VG, especially its role and limitations as an agent for supporting the European integration of former Soviet states has been particularly relevant for the impact as defined, while the broader body of work both in the pre-accession and post-accession contexts, and also the relevance of subregional cooperation processes to EU level schemes, namely the Macro-Regional Strategy. The latter has been in development since 2009 and in many ways resembling and potentially duplicating the role and agendas of pre-existing subregional organizations. The original emailed invitation to Dangerfield (copy on file at University of Wolverhampton) included the words `We particularly value your expertise in the field of regional and sub-regional integration, and the dynamic interplay between various levels of governance' (15/09/2009).
  • Citations of relevant articles in non-academic policy briefs/reports produced by NGOs/think-tanks. This concerned both the EU macro-regional strategy and the relevance of VG cooperation as a foreign policy instrument vis-a-vis the EU's eastern neighbours.

The 'sites' of Dangerfield's impact as defined have been as follows:

  • Senior expert participant at the 6th Atelier of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union on EU Macro-Regional Strategies and European Governance held at the Jacques Delors Building, rue Belliard, Brussels on 26/11/2009. Ateliers are exclusive events which the Committee of the Regions hold in order to obtain inputs from academics on new or current EU policies. Academics who are experts on the specific fields covered by particular Ateliers are invited to attend
  • Keynote speaker at opening session of the Forum at the Committee of the Regions on Europe's macro-regions: Integration through territorial co-operation, Brussels, 13/04/2010. On 13/04/2010, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) organized a Forum on Macro-Regions with regional representatives, experts and other stakeholders from existing and emerging 'macro- regions' to discuss issues related to strategy development and implementation at the CoR headquarters in Brussels (101, rue Belliard). See: Committee of the Regions of the EU (2010), Europe's Macro-regions: Integration through territorial cooperation.
  • Expert participant and Panel chair at the international conference Visegrad Group and the Czech EU-Presidency, Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague, 5-6/06/2008. This event took place in the framework of a project financed by the International Visegrad Fund (IVF). IVF projects are supported in order to deliver policy advice to support and enhance Visegrad Group multilateral cooperation.
  • Expert participant at the international conference Visegrad Perception of Global Security Challenges: Containing Global Security Threats after the Bucharest NATO Summit, 18-19/09/2008, Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bratislava. Event occurred in the framework of a project financed by the IVF.
  • Expert participant at the international conference V4 and EU-Russia Relations: Contributing to Common Policy?, Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague, 12/11/2009. Event occurred in the framework of a project financed by the IVF.
  • Expert panellist for the session 'Inside of Czech Foreign Policy Making' at the international conference Czech Foreign Policy: National Interest, EU Presidency and Beyond, Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague, 12-13/10/2010
  • Expert reviewer for policy-oriented publicly funded research proposals, e.g. referee for the European Science Foundation (2010 competition of the European Collaborative Research Projects scheme in the social sciences — ECRP VI). Evaluation of a Collaborative Research Project proposal entitled The Roles of the Black Sea Regional Cooperation Initiatives in the European Neighbourhood Policy.
  • Relevant publications cited in Policy Briefs/Analyses of think tanks: e.g. Notre Europe, Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA), International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT).
  • Relevant publications informed preparation and implementation of NGO Democracy promotion projects (ICDT).
  • 2012 article 'Visegrad Group Cooperation and Russia' (in Journal of Common Market Studies) was acquired by the Norwegian Nobel Institute Library.
  • All of Dangerfield's articles and chapters on Central European subregional cooperation were included in the International Visegrad Fund's Selected V4 Bibliography to mark the Twentieth Anniversary of the VG. This was not an academic publication, rather a handbook produced and distributed by the sole VG permanent institution.

Sources to corroborate the impact

  1. 6th Atelier of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union on EU Macro-Regional Strategies and European Governance held at the Jacques Delors Building, Rue Belliard, Brussels, on 26/11/2009. The invitation was by personal letter from the President of the Committee of the Regions, Luc Van den Brande. For the 6th Atelier, Dangerfield was Chair and Introductory Speaker for the first session entitled `Macro-regions: a case of multilevel governance?'.
    See: `Committee of the Regions of the EU, The Second Term Contributors to the 2009 Ateliers'. Available at:
  2. Forum at the Committee of the Regions on Europe's macro-regions: Integration through territorial co-operation, Brussels, 13/04/2010. Three work streams addressed specific issues related to the Baltic Sea Regions, the Danube Region and the North Sea-Channel Region. The following questions were discussed:
  • What lessons can be drawn from existing and emerging 'macro-regional strategies'?
  • What is the role of local and regional authorities in the development and implementation of 'macro-regional strategies'?
  • To which extent can macro-regions be comprehensive in their approach, covering several policy areas?
  • Should macro-regions become a means to deliver significant EU funding?
  • What can macro-regions deliver in terms of economic and environmental benefits? Available at:
  1. Visegrad Group and the Czech EU-Presidency, held at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague, 5-6/06/2008. Available at:
  2. S. Duhr (2011), Baltic Sea, Danube and Macro-Regional Strategies:
    A Model for Transnational Cooperation in the EU? Paris: Notre Europe. Available at:
  3. M. Kořán (2010), V4 cooperation from the point of view of the Czech Republic, Bratislava: CENAA. Available at:
  4. ICDT (2010), Sharing the Experiences of the Visegrad Cooperation in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Neighbourhood Countries — Project Preparatory Study, Budapest: ICDT. Available at:
  5. V. Pulisova (2010), V4 in the area of security and defence: The united divided, the divided united, Bratislava: CENAA. Available at:
  6. (2012) Polish Quarterly of International Affairs, 21.4. Issue financed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland.
    Available at:
  7. Norwegian Nobel Institute Library Acquisition List 2012. Available at:
  8. International Visegrad Fund (2011) Two Decades of Visegrad Cooperation. Selected V4 Bibliography, Bratislava: International Visegrad Fund.