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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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The cross-border agglomeration Alzette-Belval presents an urban continuum inherited from the steel and mining era. Covering an area of 170 km2 and welcoming 95,714 inhabitants in 2017, it is currently composed of 12 municipalities. The political cooperation really began in the 2000s with the implementation of a major project: Belval. Pursuing a polycentric spatial development to “unblock” Luxembourg-city, the State of Luxembourg created ex nihilo a new urban centrality at the border, where 25,000 jobs and 7,000 inhabitants are envisaged. A public investment of more than one billion euros is planned over two decades to clean up a brownfield land and build a multifunctional urban district including a university and research centres, decentralized public administrations, a concert hall, companies and shops. In reaction of this Luxembourgish urban regeneration project, French authorities have decided, in 2009, to invest 300 million euros over 20 years for the development plan of an eco-agglomeration. Such a public investment aims at complementing the Luxembourgish project in an attempt to avoid the status of simple suburbia.

These two urban projects are achieved autonomously by the national development agencies. However, despite some political divergences, there is a willingness to connect these planning initiatives thanks to a cross-border cooperation implying strategies, concrete achievements and institutional settings. At the strategic level, the French and Luxembourg states signed in 2004 a framework convention proposing a shared vision of the development of the cross-border living area anchored specifically on the Belval project. At the...

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