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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 Alentejo-Algarve-Andalucia (EuroAAA)



The southern stretch of the Spanish-Portuguese boundary originated from the signature of different bilateral agreements between the kingdoms of Portugal and Castile: Badajoz (1267), Alcañices (1297), and Alcaçovas-Toledo (1479). As a reaction, in order to defend their territories, parallel fortified cities were built along the Guadiana river (Alcoutim-Sanlúcar de Guadiana or Castro Marim-Ayamonte). In any case, it is not possible to refer to a modern boundary between two nation-states until first 1864, with the Treaty of Lisbon, and then 1926, once the Convention of Limits was signed between Spain and Portugal: this agreement was meant to delimitate the boundary from the confluence of two rivers (Cundo and Guadiana) to the river mouth into the Atlantic.

Moreover, and despite the fortifications on both sides of the river, the Guadiana river has historically been an axis for commercial flows, a contact point between Portuguese and Spanish societies: mixed marriages, informal economy, trade or smuggling have been normal patterns on this border. The Guadiana river –which runs through Spain (578 km) and Portugal (140 km) – is only used as the international limit through 100 km of its course. Hence, the extended idea of the Guadiana river as the natural frontier that divides Spain and Portugal has to be dismissed.

Today, three regions are included in the Euroregion Alentejo-Algarve-Andalusia (EuroAAA) which extends from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea basins. The border area between these two Portuguese regions and the Spanish autonomous region of Andalusia...

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