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Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration


Edited By Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel

This Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration is the first encyclopaedia which combines two so far not well interconnected interdisciplinary research fields, i.e. Border Studies and European Studies. Organised in an alphabetical order, it contains 207 articles written by 115 authors from different countries and scientific disciplines which are accompanied by 58 maps. The articles deal with theory, terminology, concepts, actors, themes and spaces of neighbourhood relations at European borders and in borderlands of and around the European Union (EU). Taking into account a multi-scale perspective from the local to the global, the Critical Dictionary follows a combined historical-geographical approach and is co-directed by Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel, with a large contribution of Jean Peyrony and Jean Rubio from the Mission opérationnelle transfrontalère (MOT), especially for the cartography. The Dictionary is also part of four Jean Monnet activities supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union for the period 2016-2022: two Jean Monnet projects on EU border regions (University Strasbourg), one Jean Monnet network (Frontem) and the Franco-German Jean Monnet excellence Center in Strasbourg, as well as the Jean Monnet Chair of Bernard Reitel on borders and European integration. Rather than being designed as an objective compilation of facts and figures, it should serve as a critical tool for discussion between researchers, students and practitioners working in the field of borders, cross-border cooperation and European Integration.

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Euroregion (Overview)


How many Euroregions are currently active in Europe? How are they geographically and chronologically distributed? How does cross-border governance work? These questions have been widely asked by both the epistemic community and institutions in order to better understand local and regional cross-border cooperation. We argue that Euroregions truly matter: they are a symbol of communal living across borders, give shape to the diversity of the European continent, and are present across most European Union (EU) borders.

While there has not been an official EU compilation of “Euroregional experiences”, there have been some attempts from institutions and academia to collect and categorize these phenomena. Euroregions can vary a great deal in their structure and function depending on factors like the context of the border and the number and typology of involved actors. According to our recent research, more than 300 European territorial cooperation structures are listed in academic and institutional databases. However, since there lacks an official or universally accepted definition of a Euroregion, some of the listed organisations could not be defined as such (like forums of exchanging experiences or intergovernmental panels). Euroregions can be defined as organisations that cover a cross-border territory and/or provide specific services for the population in a border area (i.e., cross-border equipment). The organisation represents a shared desire to cooperate across borders, which is then reinforced by a public institution and ultimately results in joint activities. In the aforementioned study, 267 Euroregional structures have been identified; however, no prior listing or...

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