Environmental cohesion across the Hungarian-Croatian border

Viktor Varjú

Abstract



Environmental cohesion (as a new EU paradigm for a place-based interpretation of environmental justice) has a clear connection to territorial cohesion. Based on this idea, advantages for people can include an equitable distribution of environmental protection and access to environmental services. In non-EU countries regional environmental cohesion is used as an instrument to accelerate accession to the EU and it may be manifested as a declaration of environmental diplomacy. Environmental cohesion across a border can be identified as soon as two regions – alongside the border – start to cooperate in order to improve environmental conditions and to ensure equal access to natural resources and environmental services. After a literature review environmental cohesion is evaluated in multidimensional way, using empirical quantitative and qualitative data and a two-pillar based methodological approach. The Croatian-Hungarian border area was closed for a long time. As a result, developments avoided the area, on the other, natural resources remained mainly untouched. However, the two countries have had different approaches towards the area, while, Croatia made efforts to build another water power plant, Hungary intended to preserve and extend a Natural Park. This contradiction remained until the accession process of Croatia. Finally the disagreement between the two countries was moderated by a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that was created alongside the border in 2015. The post-2010 period has been characterised by an increasing number of environmental-related cooperations.

Keywords


environmental cohesion, crossborder cooperation, Hungary, Croatia

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