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

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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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Italian-French Land Border

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The Italian-French borders are both terrestrial and mountainous, covering 515 km from the triple point France – Italy – Switzerland (Mount Dolent) until the shores of the Mediterranean at the level of Menton (France) and Ventimiglia (Italy), and maritime between islands Corsica and Sardinia and the mainland and has been described as a “liquid plain” (plaine liquide). This article will address specifically the Italian-French land border.

The construction of this border as an international border is recent. It dates back to the separation between the Kingdom of Sardinia and France in the 19th century and was modified in 1860 by the attachment of Savoy and the County of Nice by the Treaty of Turin to France. Its final delineation only took place in 1947, which resulted in the attachment of Tende and La Brigue to France.

The Franco-Monegasque border is much older (1297). It also changed in 1861 with the attachment to France of Menton and Roquebrune (“free cities” of the Principality of Monaco since 1848). The Principality was thus reduced by 90 % of its area, now totaling 1.97 km2.

These delineation changes are still fresh in collective memories, as are the traces of contemporary conflicts, such as occupation by the military forces of Mussolini. All along this border line national and local identities are differentiated. But at certain moments of cooperation or confrontation, a “buried Italianity”, reappears.

The cross-border relationship is above all intercultural through the contradictory uses and perceptions...

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