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Baltic Sea Summer School in Sönderborg 2012

Borders in Motion – Summer School at the Department of Border Region Studies


What is the importance of the crossborder trade on the German-Danish border and which influence does it have on the economy structure on both sides of the border? Susanne Bygvra deals with these questions since the 1970s. The drivers of the border trade are in general the price differences resulting from different VAT rates (for food in Germany 7 %, in Denmark uniformly 25 %) and excise taxes (alcohol, sugar, fat). That is why Danes like to get into the car and to drive few kilometres in order to buy food, especially beer, cola and sweets. It is estimated that in such a way around 255 litres beer are travelling over the border over a year. In a population of approx. 5.5 million people it makes around 50 litres per capita. Thus, for a per capita consumption of approx. 100 litres there are around 50 % of consumed amount that are bought in Germany. However, this trade structure does not imply that the Danish brewing is collapsing since there is a high demand for Danish beer brands. Furthermore, there are predominantly Danes that are owning the so-called bordershops on the German side of the border and it is also Danes who are working in these shops. Thus, an assessment of the welfare impacts is not a trivial task.

Besides the researchers from Denmark and Germany there were also guests from Poland, Lithuania and Iceland visiting the SDU. Apart from the topic mentioned above there was also an exchange in opinions about unemployment and migration in Europe, wage developments in border regions or optimal monetary policy in Europe during a crisis.

The university in Sönderborg is located directly at a fjord. By letting the eyes wander out of the Red Box to the outside during the presentations one could see many sailors entering the port or heading out to Baltic See. In this respect an ideal location since the Summer School was the first event in the constext of the BMBF project: Research cooperation of Baltic See states which is executed by Prof. Dr. Georg Stadtmann (Viadrina) in 2012/2013. The next events in Warsaw and at the Viadrina are already being planned.