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Civil Society Organisations and Cross-Border Networks in the Western Balkans

Dragisa Mijacic, Jasna Zarkovic
Keywords: Territorial Cooperation, Interreg, EU Funds, cross-border cooperation, Western Balkans, cross-border networks, social cohesion, IPA beneficiary countries

This article discusses a methodological approach in examining cross-border networks for understanding the impact of cross-border cooperation programmes, especially on socio-economic development and social cohesion. Cross-border cooperation programmes bring together different types of beneficiaries and their interaction offers interesting opportunities to test brokering roles that arise from the interaction between them. Using the empirical data on grant projects from all eleven cross-border programmes between IPA beneficiary countries of the Western Balkans for the financial framework 2007-2013, collected through a complex exercise of analysing different documents publicly available at websites of contracting authorities and operating structures, and using principles of social network analysis, the study discussed in this article successfully tested the key hypothesis that civil society organisations are the most successful type of beneficiaries in providing brokering opportunities to bridge the structural holes between different actors in cross-border cooperation programmes, regardless of the programme measure or geography.

Dragisa Mijacic is Executive Director and Senior Researcher at the Institute for Territorial Economic Development (InTER), Belgrade (Serbia), and a PhD Candidate at the UNU-MERIT, Maastricht (the Netherlands). For correspondence: dmijacic@regionalnirazvoj.org. Jasna Zarkovic is Researcher at the Institute for Territorial Economic Development (InTER). For correspondence: jzarkovic@regionalnirazvoj.org. The views expressed in this article are personal and do not reflect the views of the Institute for Territorial Economic Development.


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