The Impact of European Territorial Cooperation on Selected Aspects of the Quality of Life of the Inhabitants of Cross-Border Areas
Purpose: An important element of spatial planning, EU policy and regional economics is the assessment of the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of programs and projects implemented in specific areas, especially cross-border ones. Such programs are an important component of the EU's cohesion policy. Such an evaluation is not a straightforward multidisciplinary issue. There is no uniform method for these assessments. However, such attempts should be made, which is reflected in this study. Design/methodology/approach: The following research procedures were used: 1. Literature review 2. Collection of qualitative and quantitative data on the area of assistance and on the Interreg IIIA, IVA and V programs, as well as on the projects implemented under these programs 3. Qualitative analysis of the objectives of these programs 4. Selection of projects for the improvement of the quality of life in each of its dimensions 5. Quantitative analysis of the number and value of projects by quality of life dimensions 6. Formulation of conclusions. Findings: The most important include: 1. Systematic and significant increase in the budgets of the Interreg IIIA, IVA and VA programs. 2. Increase in the importance of projects aimed at improving the quality of life in the years from 2004 to 2023. 3. Dominance among them of projects related to the dimension of Leisure and social interactions and a significant share of projects related to the dimensions of Education and Health. Practical implications: The obtained results indicate that the projects concerning Material Living Conditions and Productive or Main Activity, which are very important from the point of view of improving the quality of life, are few and have low budgets. Taking into account the peripherality and relatively low level of development of the German and Polish parts of the assistance area (with the exception of the Szczecin metropolitan area), instruments to support the submission of applications in these dimensions should be introduced and their budget increased. Originality/Value: The originality and value of the research conducted results from its three aspects: 1. The long period covered by the analysis (2004-2023). 2. Selection of the Poland-Germany cross-border zone as the research area. 3. Detailed analysis of all projects. 4. Choosing the quality of life as a specific and significant sphere of impact of the Interreg IIIA, IVA, VA programs and projects.