The local border traffic zone experiment as an instrument of cross-border integration: The case of Polish-Russian borderland
The main objective of this article is to offer an answer to the question whether introducing local border traffic (LBT) on the external frontiers of the EU is an effective tool for cross-border integration and development of marginalised border areas. The analysis was carried out in an area of particular strategic importance for the European Community and Russia, which is the Polish-Russian borderland. The study includes the analysis of political discourse supplied with the findings from the original survey revealing mutual perception of Polish and Russian partners. The authors drew special attention to the significance of delimitation of areas included in the visa-free traffic. The success of the four-year period of LBT zone’s functioning on the Polish-Kaliningrad border came as a result of modification of the regulations concerning the scope of the zone and the inclusion of economic regions otherwise heavily affected by the split in the functional dimension. The analysed region had the chance to become a model of national and local policies’ cooperation in border areas. The decision to shut down the LBT has proved yet again that socio-economic initiatives in border regions are deterministically dependent on the decisions of central governments.