TransRes | project II

Foto: Slavomír Kube/CTK/dpa
Foto: Slavomír Kube/CTK/dpa

Since the end of the Cold War and at the latest with the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union, the eastern Bavarian counties along the border with the Czech Republic developed into an important destination region for Czech commuters. The border closures in March 2020 in response to the spread of the Corona pandemic had a major impact on commuters and businesses close to the border, at least in the short term.

 

As part of the research project, the project team is investigating the economic geographic consequences of the Corona pandemic on Czech labor migration to eastern Bavaria and how regional economic development is dealing with the consequences. This is exemplified by a case study in the Upper Franconian district of Wunsiedel im Fichtelgebirge. The district of Wunsiedel is interesting because initial studies to date have focused primarily on the neighboring district of Tirschenreuth, which was considered a corona hotspot at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. So far, the effects of border closures on the regional border economy beyond these corona hotspots have hardly been studied. 

Research Perspective

The project is based on the assumption that, in the context of the European integration process over the past 30 years, companies in the eastern Bavarian border region gradually took the certainty of open state borders for granted and took it into account in their corporate strategies. This expectation has now been disrupted by the Corona pandemic.

 

Based on this, the project team pursues three questions: 

  1. To what extent does this crisis experience affect the resilience strategies of businesses in the Wunsiedel district, and do the lessons learned have consequences for Czech commuters?
  2. Are the border closures framed as transformational events that mask or at least update previous experiences from the past 30 years for future resilience strategies?
  3. How do regional economic development actors deal with the change processes triggered by the Corona pandemic and to what extent are Czech commuters taken into account in future regional economic development measures?