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Volume XII |

The change of the urban network along the middle and lower Danube during transition

Abstract: The economy and urban development of the riparian regions have been partly determined by the Danube as an inland navigation line (e.g. Dunaújváros, Smederovo, Lom, Calaraşi etc.), or the economy of these towns has been based on the other features of the river (e.g. Komárom/Komarno, Nyergesújfalu, Paks, Orsova, Vidin, Kozloduy etc.). In the aftermaths of the collapse of the communist regimes and the Soviet Union and the blockade of the traffic due to the crisis of ex-Yugoslavia, the role of the Danubian transport line was changed radically (Hardi 2012). Due to these changes and the emergence of the new economy, the function and situation of these towns transformed in the last two decades. Some of them could use the new possibilities, but many of them lost their economic basis and population, becoming a peripheral region or town. Our paper gives a comparative study about the features of the Danube towns, and characterizes the typical development ways of the riparian towns. The present study summarizes the experiences of an academic exchange programme among Romanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian institutions.

Volume XII |

Factorial analysis of the territorial disparities on the southern part of the Romanian – Hungarian border

Abstract: During the socialist era along the Hungarian-Romanian border region there emerged a significant developmental gap which separated a relative more advanced Hungarian side from a backward Romanian one. Using a quantitative methodology, we try to identify territorial disparities of these times on a lower spatial scale – namely on the level of communes – in order to highlight the presumably lagging-behind status of a narrower border strip. According to our hypothesis, this peripheral strip has a disadvantageous status mainly because its increased isolation. The factorial analysis confirmed this fact on the Hungarian side, however it was disproved on the Romanian side because the presence of the large cities and basic infrastructure networks on the proximity of the border. Thus, the paper underlines empirically former conception related to the geographical periphery regions along the border line.

Volume XII |

The impact and importance of return migration in East Central Europe

Abstract: Return migration might be a key factor for development in sending regions, especially in East Central Europe. In 2004, the enlargement of the European Union affected a mass labour migration from post-socialist countries towards Western European regions. Among rules of the Union this East-West migration has become more than brain-drain, beside high-skilled migrants, lower skilled ones also leave their country of origin. This paper focused on common characteristics of migrants from East Central European countries. During research I have used results of an online survey among migrants and made interviews with returned Hungarian migrants. Though sending countries make efforts towards re-attracting migrants, without stable macro-factors their return might be uncertain. According to my results, though each country has its own profile, in some cases, especially Hungarian and Polish migrants have common characteristics in terms of motivation of emigration and type of work abroad.

Volume XII |

Non-realised plans for the enlargement of the Danubian waterway

Abstract: There is a widespread belief these days that the Danube River is a waterway which is by far underutilised. This is usually attributed to the problems blocking navigation on the river (mostly on the Hungarian section), and to the missing regulations of the navigation routes. We have to add, however, that there are many other factors that set back the development of navigation, including the endowments of our economy that result in limited demand for water transportation. Also, several further economic, geopolitical and geographical endowments contribute to the low level of utilisation. The starting point of our paper is that the Danube River now offers one single long navigation route. The competitiveness of this route is decreased by the fact that no waterway network has been established in the last two hundred years that could have made river transportation more rationally usable. Think of the navigability of the tributaries, the connecting and branch canals, and multimodal ports (connected to railway and road transportation). Because of all these factors, no macro-regional economy was created at the adequate time, built on water transportation. Think of the fact that one single long railway line of motorway, without junctions and connections, cannot be operated economically, either, it will not become a system and its regional development impact will remain limited. Our paper focuses on those experiments that were made to contribute to the network development of the Danube River water system, with exact plans. Many of them were realistic plans in their days, but could not be realised because of the competition of railway, lack of capital or for geopolitical reasons.

Volume XII |

The new immigration in Sicily: between acceptance and rejection. The case of the city of Vittoria

Abstract: The aim of this study is to focus on the recent growing flow of foreign immigration into Sicily, in order to highlight how traumatic this development has been for Sicilian society. Although tolerance towards foreign presence is deeply rooted in Sicilian customs and traditions, recently it has been put at risk by the emergence of various ethnic groups, who are settling on Sicilian soil and are impacting upon local institutions, economy and society. The Sicilian population is the product of a melting pot of races and ethnicities, whose features can be found in the make-up of the Sicilian population. However, since the end of the nineteenth century, Sicilian population dynamics have been stable, with no traces of unabsorbed foreign presences. So, the plain of the Albanians, founded in 1500, and more recently Mazara del Vallo, which hosts a large group of Tunisians, were just isolated cases. The 70’s are the turning point since Sicily from a land of emigration became a land of immigration. Lots of ethnicities use Sicily as a natural corridor where the Mediterranean flows are channelled. To conclude we would like to find out which are the levels of intolerance and acceptance, and if one is more prominent than the other.