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Transdisciplinary Discourses on Cross-Border Cooperation in Europe


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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When border regions have wind in their sails ‒ A short history of the European Commission’s communication “Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions” (Nathalie Verschelde)


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When border regions have wind in their sails ‒ A short history of the European Commission’s communication “Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions”


The Genesis

For the author of this article, 2015 marked a professional turning point. After many years as a professional involved in various aspects of cross-border cooperation, I landed the ideal new job: deputy head of unit for the cross-border cooperation unit in DG REGIO. This is the place where it all happens for cross-border regions – or so I thought.

2015 was also the year when EU financing for cross-border cooperation celebrated its 25th anniversary – what started as a modest Community Initiative in 1990 has become a fully-fledged objective of European cohesion policy with an increased budget and an expanded geographical coverage (reflecting the EU enlargement of course, but also with the introduction of maritime cross-border cooperation areas).

The conjunction of those two events, one very personal and one more societal could not have happened at a more appropriate time. Joining a team that prepares to celebrate an important birthday is an exhilarating moment not only from the social point of view (positive celebrations are always a good thing to do), but also from the reflective point of view. As a (semi) outsider to the birthday preparations, I had the right to ask the difficult questions: do we really have so much to celebrate? Can we be happy with what...

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