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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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Schengen Area



The Schengen International Agreement was signed in 1985 as a laboratory for cooperation in border-management in the context of gradual removal of internal borders between the member states of the European Union (EU).

The removal of internal borders within the EU had to be compensated by common controls at external borders, to guarantee the checks of arrivals from outside the EU and the security of the “Schengen Area,” established by the Schengen Implementing Convention in 1990. The implementation of the Schengen Agreements started in 1995.

This space of free movement gave rise to the Area of Liberty, Security and Justice (Art. 67–89 of the Treaty of the EU (TEU)). The acquis developed through the Schengen Agreement and its aftermaths has been reinjected into the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and therefore incorporated the agreement inside the legal framework of the EU.

The Schengen Area is very specific because it neither corresponds to the geography of the space of freedom, security and justice nor to the territory of the internal market. In 2019, among EU member states, only Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania were not members of this space of free movement. Given its island geography and the high volume of people travelling in and out, or simply transiting through the United Kingdom, this EU member state had obtained – before Brexit – a special status for the Schengen Area. A specific status is also applied to Ireland and Denmark.

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