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Transdisciplinary Discourses on Cross-Border Cooperation in Europe

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Edited By Joachim Beck

In the context of European integration, cross-border cooperation has become increasingly important. Following both the quantitative and qualitative expansion of this policy-field, it has repeatedly been the subject of scientific analysis in the past. However, as a result of the classical differentiation of the scientific system, it was mostly viewed from a monodisciplinary perspective. This publication aims at the foundation of a trans-disciplinary research approach in the field of European cross-border cooperation. It takes the multi-dimensional reality of practical territorial cooperation in Europe as a starting point and develops a transdisciplinary scientific approach. Based on a common analytic frame of reference, practical patterns of cross-border policy-making in different European border regions are analyzed from the integrated theoretical perspectives of various scientific disciplines: Political Science, Geography, Sociology, History, Law, Cultural Sciences and Socio-Linguistics, Economics and Administrative Science. The scientific conceptualizations are expanded by reports from practitioners coming from different institutional and functional levels of European cross-border policy-making.

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Placing cross-border cooperation at the core of Europe – The view from the European Committee of the Regions (Karl-Heinz Lambertz)

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Placing cross-border cooperation at the core of Europe – The view from the European Committee of the Regions1

Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ

Over centuries of difficult European history marked by wars and tensions, border regions have acted as barriers against neighbouring countries. These regions remained on the periphery ‒ places where peoples, living in the vicinity of one other, did not cooperate, or where any opportunity for economic, social or even cultural cooperation across borders was considered either too difficult to pursue or not considered at all. The borders of today’s Europe bear the scars and division from many wars that Europeans have waged.

After World War II, the founding fathers of the European Union were the first to realise that Europe could not continue down this path, which was increasingly seen as leading to destruction and global insignificance. They realised that, in order to make the European continent prosperous again, people needed to overcome their differences, to get over centuries of animosity and work together to heal those wounds at their borders to create a prosperous Europe for all Europeans.

Over the past six decades, they have accomplished a great deal more than many of their founding fathers had hoped for. Borders are no longer considered barriers, and border regions are no longer viewed as being on the periphery. Today, these regions are even deemed to be the cornerstone of European integration and the completion of the internal market-places where Europeans...

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