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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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On 10 January 1991, on the basis of the Wissembourg Declaration of Intent signed on 12 December 1988, the Department of Bas-Rhin, the French State, the Alsace Region and the two Länder of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate inaugurated the former customs building in Lauterbourg to house the first authority for information and advice on cross-border issues in the Upper Rhine. The creation of this body took place in the context of the establishment of the European Union (EU)’s internal market in 1993, with new opportunities for citizens and businesses resulting from the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital. At that time, it was considered that the need for information and advice resulting from these fundamental freedoms would be of a temporary nature pending the convergence or even harmonisation of national legislations. However, border problems have not decreased as planned by the European Commission, but have rather increased. Mobility for individuals leads de facto to the problem of adapting legislation and decision-making systems that differ between France and Germany.

After two years, the example of the Lauterbourg office proved its worth and was transposed in 1993 to Kehl-Strasbourg, Vogelgrün and Palmrain. The name Information und Beratung-Stelle (INFOBEST) was born from the creativity of Christian Häfliger, the former director of the Regio Basiliensis who was in charge of the Palmrain project on the German-French-Swiss border at the time.

These four INFOBEST have one thing in common: they have all been...

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