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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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West-Vlaanderen/Flandre-Dunkerque-Côte d’Opale

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The European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) West-Vlaanderen / Flandre-Dunkerque-Côte d’Opale follows the Franco-Belgian coastline for 200 km from Berck-sur-Mer to Brugge via Boulogne, Calais, Dunkerque and Oostende. Due to its complex name, which refers to its geographical perimeter, it is sometimes called the “littoral EGTC”.

Its territorial structure is comprised of three elements: the English Channel with its beaches and sizeable harbours, a land stripe of very low altitude, and finally, the suburbs of the thriving cities of Gent and Lille. The two countries are marked by significant differences in land and landscape use, as well as employment and economic structures. While on the French side, rural and natural areas coexist alongside the numerous industrial sites, the more densely populated and urbanized Flemish side lacks free spaces. In the current post-industrial era, the activities of both the industrial and fishing sectors located on the French side have declined, leading to a high unemployment rate. Contrastingly, Flemish cities like Brugge, Oostende and Kortrijk offer employment opportunities in the secondary and tertiary sectors.

The cross-border territory has a common Flemish history. Dutch is the official language in the province of West-Vlaanderen on the Belgian side. The Flemish influence is also noticeable in the French Flanders, especially in the region of Westhoek, where the Dutch dialect spoken has left traces in the villages’ toponomy (Hazebrouck, Hondschoote, Steenvoorde, Watten, Wormhout…). Despite these strong geographical and cultural continuities, the cultural division along the border is growing. In...

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