EU Life Long Learning Programme logo

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


German-Polish Border

Pro Europa Viadrina (German-Polish border)

Border type

  • Natural border between Germany and Poland on the river Oder
  • Relatively new – exists since 1945; as a border between the German Democratic Republic and the Polish People’s Republic, 1949–1990; affirmed in the German–Polish Frontier Treaty, November 1990
  • Inner EU border since May 2004, inner Schengen Zone border since 2007


Basic data

  • Inhabitants: 426.000 (Germany), 328.000 (Poland)
  • Area of cooperation: 9242 km2
  • Important cities and development hubs: Frankfurt (Oder), Eisenhüttenstadt, Seelow, Beeskow (Germany); Gorzów Wielkopolski, Słubice, Kostrzyn nad Odrą, Sulęcin (Poland)
  • Languages in use: German, Polish
  • Covered subnational areas: In Germany, districts of Märkisch-Oderland and Oder-Spree; municipality of Frankfurt (Oder). In Poland, counties of Gorzów, Słubice, Sulęcin and Strzelce-Drezdenko; city of Gorzów Wielkopolski
  • German-Polish borderlands spread across 467 kilometres. The territory in question constitutes only one part of them, and as such, it was defined by the agreement on the conception of the Euroregion Pro Europa Viadrina.
  • Brandenburg and Lubuskie voivodeship are considered to be weaker compared to the average of Germany and Poland respectively.


Governance/institutionalisation of cross border cooperation within the region

  • Short history of co-operation structures: Intensive cooperation in the region began with the introduction of the visa-free movement of people in 1991. The objective of cooperation with Poland has been acknowledged in the constitution of Brandenburg of 1992. The Euroregion Pro Europa Viadrina was established in 1993.
  • Public forms of cooperation are predominant
  • Actors: state of Brandenburg, disctricts, municipalities (Germany); voivodeships, counties and gminas (Poland)


Main developers and drivers of cross border co-operation


Major projects and events in the cross-border region

  • Transborder local public transport in Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice
  • Europatag – Europe Day
  • HanseStadtFest – transborder city festival in Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice
  • Eurokita, German-Polish Kindergarten in Frankfurt (Oder)
  • Pinokio, Polish-German Kindergarten in Słubice
  • Słubfurt – citizens’ initiative
  • Fanfarengarde – trans-border orchestra


Current challenges for co-operation

  • Organizational: issues of legal nature (different national regulations), lack of equivalent partners;
  • Institutional: low partner activity; too few economic centres; the Euroregion is not perceived as a body responsible for the regional development; decision-makers do not use the potential of the Euroregion to its fullest;
  • Financial: strong dependence on European funding; lack of a system that would secure own deposit for project realization;
  • Social: language barriers, particularly on the German side; cultural differences that cause limited intercultural interests; high unemployment rate;
  • Environmental: limited use of natural resources for the purposes of education, tourism, health, and trade; imperfections of the infrastructure (connections between housing estates, river crossing).


Economy (data as of 2010)

  • Services: 69% GDP
  • Manufacturing: 28% GDP
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishery: 3% GDP
  • GDP: 7 495 000 000 € (German area); 2 441 000 000 € (Polish area)
  • Investment incentives in the Kostrzyn-Słubice Special Economic Zone
  • State subsidies in the Regional Growth Core Frankfurt (Oder)–Eisenhüttenstadt


Links between the jurisdictions


Cross border project funding characteristics

  • EU territorial cooperation funds (PHARE, INTERREG III, INTERREG IV A)
  • Local funding of certain projects


Thematic focus

Integrated and potential-oriented cross-border intervention approach. Areas of particular interest include culture, heritage, education, and tourism.


Future cross border co-operation

  • Prospects to strengthen the relationship between Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice; new legal forms of cooperation are in the pipeline as well as a joint application for the Citivitas Initiative 2020;
  • Prospects to establish an EGTC (“TransOderana”), including counties of the Lubuskie and Greater Poland voivodeships as well as the Märkisch-Oderland district)