Internationalisation of the ECICT

Internationalisation – the cooperation of clusters on a transnational level - is a new trend present in the field of clustering. Referring to Porter’s definition, the geographic proximity of entities is the fundamental premise for the creation and development of the cluster they constitute (M. Porter, On Competition). Spatial concentration enables intensive information and knowledge flows among the companies which form the connection. It favors learning processes, innovation creation and raising competencies.

Nonetheless, the rhythm of changes happening in today’s world and economy is fast, which means that the clustering theory also needs to be updated and adjusted to present conditions. The abolition of geographical barriers opens up a brand new stage in cluster development – the stage of international expansion and transnational cooperation.

The trend has been noticed by the European Commission which performs a number of activities promoting various forms of international cluster cooperation, taking into account the opportunity to further dynamise the process of increasing the innovativeness and the competitiveness of the European economy.

It is worth to mention the EU documents from which the real shape of the EU cluster policy can emerge:

  • in the „Industrial Policy in an Enlarged Europe” document from 2002, the European Commission refers to the concept of clusters, especially those created by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a special development factor in the new development policy,
  • the activity 4.2, which can be found in the European Commission „Innovate for a competitive Europe” document, states that structural funds are to support internationalisation of regional clusters because, according to the Commission, clusters and networks have proven to be an effective tool of stimulating innovation

The last document is most important for the process of internationalisation of European clusters. Moving clustering to a higher development level – the level of international cooperation – is a strategic assumption of the European Commission. It is one of the reasons for the creation of the European Cluster Alliance, which constitutes a network of institutions representing central and regional authorities and development agencies which support further deepening of transnational cooperation between the regions in matters of developing the cluster policy.