Research & Studies

The Haydn-Liszt Quartet: New Institutions, Social Actors and Networking in the West-Pannon Euroregion

The 1990s were the years of learning not only in terms of market economics but in terms of joining the European integration processes as well. This is especially true for the estabishment of the institutional frames for regions and regional development and cooperation. As a result, seven regions were created in Hungary without the dissolution of the counties, the traditional units of Hungarian public administration. Regions in Hungary are in the process of institutional stabilization and are trying to become real players in domestic and European politics. The Western-Transdanubian region which consists of the three western-border counties of Györ-Sopron, Vas and Zala, is outstandingly positioned among them, since together with Burgenland in Austria, it
constitutes the West-Pannon Euroregion, the only one in Hungary with EU borders.

Three quarters of the entire population of 1.3 million and territory of the West-Pannon Euroregion belongs to Hungary. As a consequence, the institutional and social development of the three counties of Western Transdanubia play a determining role in the ongoing process of Euroregionalization.

Since the abolition of the Iron Curtain, this development has been both dynamic and uninterrupted. The Hungarian part of the West Pannon Euroregion is among the most successful in Hungary, whereas Burgenland is the least developed in Austria.

Interpersonal, social, economic and political relationships traditionally play a vital role throughout the entire border region, thus providing an excellent base for institution-building and networking within the recently institutionalized frames of Western Transdanubia. Social cohesion of the new Euroregion can be strengthened by ethnic groups and minorities traditionally living peacefully side-by-side on both sides of the EU’s eastern border.

With the opening of borders in 1989, crossborder labor market relations have intensified. Many Hungarian citizens, searching for higher income possiblities, have adjusted themselves to the requirements of the Austrian labor market during the past decade. Most of the commuting migrants have found employment opportunities in the service sector, agriculture and construction industry. The rising proportion of comparatively cheap migrant labor can lead to social and political tensions, and as a consequence this sensitive issue needs special treatment during the process of framing crossborder regional labor relations.

Read more on the Institute for Social and European Studies website.