BusDev - Business Development Opportunities at External EU Borders

Being peripheral in their own countries the stakeholder territories face particular development challenges and lower entrepreneurship capacities than in other parts of the same country. It is presumed that the EU eastern external land border should provide added value to business environments in the pilot regions of this targeted analysis as well as to other external border regions of EU Member States. As concluded by this study depending on border realities proximity to the EU external border either exacerbates or mitigates business impediments within these regions. Shared identity enhances moderate openings of the economic dimension. The socio-cultural dimension is a constant business determinant while the political dimension is a definite variable. Development perspectives of cross-border areas at the EU external border are, inter alia, defined by the political situation on the other side of the border. Prodemocratic and pro-European neighbours can be game-changer for business development, while the opposite situation has a strong closing effect.

Addressing opportunities and challenges of territories at the EU external land frontier implies that border realities are taken into account. The focus, however, should be on endogenous potential development. The effectiveness of business support depends largely on whether the interventions tackle the origins of challenges rather than the symptoms, have a long-term perspective and are linked to territorial needs and structures. Place-based integrated interventions strengthening local endowments are more relevant and effective than national sectoral policies in the stakeholder territories. Development strategies at EU external border regions need to be built on multi-level governance, place-based and coordinated sectoral policy approaches and territorial cohesion principles. Business support policies should be aimed at mitigating the outlying and restrictive conditions by building and strengthening regional assets. The external land border regions need special attention from national governments as well as EU Cohesion policy as geographically specific areas.  

Policy questions

  • What are the main challenges faced by the local businesses in the cross-border areas at the EU external border?
  • Why the existing policies and business support mechanisms have not been efficient in delivering the expected socio-economic development results? What has worked and what has failed?
  • What are the development perspectives and added value that closeness to the EU external border can provide in terms of attracting investments and conquering new markets thus stimulating socio-economic development?
  • What policies need to support these processes taking into account the socio-economic and geopolitical circumstances?
  • What concrete support mechanisms need to be developed that could stimulate entrepreneurs to develop their businesses in the cross-border areas by using this specific location and other conditions as an asset? What concrete actions this would imply?
  • What kind of cross-border cooperation among the EU countries and the neighbouring countries across the EU border could stimulate the development of entrepreneurship on the external borders of the European Union?
  • What kind and what level of business knowledge local entrepreneurs have? How to increase the knowledge of local entrepreneurs about business-related topics, especially trade nearby the border area.


  • Latgale Planning Region (Latvia)
  • Euroregion “Country of Lakes” office (Lithuania)
  • Regional Office for Cross Border Cooperation Iași for the RO-MD border (Romania)
  • Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (Latvia)
  • Association of European Border Regions

 Main outcomes

  • Findings on the existing business environments in the project stakeholder territories, indicating the main challenges and opportunities
  • Findings regarding the effectiveness of existing policies and business support mechanisms in the project stakeholder territories
  • Full descriptions of existing business environments, the effectiveness of existing policies and business support mechanisms
  • Recommendations on what concrete policies and support mechanisms need to be established, with proposals for the necessary financial interventions and activities that could be funded by the EU funds, including those supporting territorial and cross-border cooperation
  • A framework for common territorial strategies at EU external borders


  • Spatial Foresight: LU (lead contractor)
  • BGI Consulting, LT
  • LIDEEA Development Actions, RO 


€ 245 300


December 2019 – January 2021

Contact: Zintis Hermansons (Project Expert), [email protected] ; Johannes Kiersch (Financial Expert),  [email protected]


BusDEV_Synthesis report.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 1.14MB

BusDEV_Final report.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 2.47MB

BusDEV_Scientific report.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 1.17MB

BusDEV_ANNEX I_Report on Latgale (LV).pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 4.67MB

BusDEV_ANNEX II_Report on Utena (LT).pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 4.25MB

BusDEV_ANNEX III_Report on Romanian CBC (RO).pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 2.05MB

BusDEV_ANNEX IV_Business support policies in EU countries.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 903KB

BusDEV_ANNEX V_Framework for territorial strategies.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 1.05MB

BusDEV_ANNEX III_Report on Romanian CBC_fact sheets.zip

  • Zip archive | 4.04MB

BusDEV_Territorial capital matrix (LV, LT, RO).zip

  • Zip archive | 73KB