Both Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein must face up to global competition, so that they could improve their starting position if they bundled their energies. The author points out that the establishment of a common economic region with close and institutionalized cooperation in important fields of action, which is subject to agreement, would in the short and medium term be a pragmatic approach to solving concrete problems and eliminating bottlenecks. Cooperation in the context of an economic region can only function if there is a willingness to accept a reconciliation of interests on an equal footing with the partner. The author outlines a broad spectrum of cooperation that provides ample opportunity to test such a partnership. The intensity of future cooperation would then result from concrete progress in detail.