I. Geographical and natural determinants of the Baltic Sea Region.
(defining the region, ways to study the region, borders of the BSR, natural condition of the BSR)
Defining the region
There are mainly two ways for describing a `region':
a part of a state (when we refer to inhabitants coexisting together with economic interaction. Regional policy applies to this)
or an area that consist of several states or parts of states (the concept of multinational regions fits inhere)
Yet, we should look at it here from a wider perspective, taking into consideration all the landscapes, environments, societies, history etc. Regions are created by people for a purpose.
Studying the region in IR
The landscape and environment (factors of geography)
Climate or natural resources
Its societies and history
The people living there
Institutions - formal structure
Formal and Informal tights
Level of cooperation
Planes of cooperation
Three ways to study a region
We can study regional development as:
a political process (focus on regional institution building, the evolution of political cooperation)
an economic process (in the BSR trade has a long history, from the Hanseatic League. The development of trade nowadays leads to the deeper economic integration in the region. Economic development in a region makes the member states dependent on each other when it comes to economic stability, products exchange etc.)
a so-called special process (focus on use of natural resources and impact of environment)
We can study them separately but they are connected, especially with the new paradigm of sustainable development which combines all of them.
“Region” is a concept that is employed when classifying and delineating territory with respect to spatial extension and organisational purpose. Culturally and politically it is not immediately obvious that the drainage area constitutes a region. Historically, however, it makes good sense. The waterways provided by the rivers flowing into the Baltic, and the lakes linked to these rivers, have always been important means of communication. Baltic Sea as an draining area!
BSR can be seen as a sea basin. Others in the world: Meditteranean basin, the North Sea, Great Lakes in the US etc. BSR consists of: Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark + Norway draining through Poland and Sweden and also Belarus, Ukraine, Czech and Slovak republics (bo rzeki wpływają). All in all BSR covers 15% of Europe (considering the lands and waters all of which flows towards the Baltic Sea).
…: levels of diversity: linguistic, religious, economical, political
What is important in BSR is its diversity of people, languages, religions. We meet here four Christian faiths(Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism and Uniatism). The Southeastern sub-region is also a historical nest of Jewishness. From the historic perspective people in the BSR represent about 30 different ethnic groups.
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