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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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Working Community of the Pyrenees

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The Pyrenees have always been the ideal place for exchanges between communities from either side of the mountain range resulting in the local populations developing a joint custom of collaboration for the betterment of the region. Long before 1659, the year the border was drawn, the good relationship between these neighbours made it possible to establish local agreements known as “lies et passeries” or “faceries”. These treaties referred to the right to use pastures, water and wood, as well as mutual protection in the event of conflicts or health problems. These were applied across the Pyrenees mountain range as early as the 14th century.

Subsequently, these age-old cross-border relations in the Pyrenees led to the establishment of the Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP), from its French, Spanish, Occitan and Catalan initials in 1983, at the instigation of the Council of Europe. The CTP hoped to create a cross-border cooperation organisation in the heart of the Pyrenees with headquarters located in Jaca, Aragon. Its territory covers 254 680 km2 and includes a population of nearly 23.2 million individuals.

In 1995, the Treaty of Bayonne, on cross-border cooperation between local authorities, was signed by French and Spanish regional governments to promote cross-border cooperation in an area that extends for 250 km on either side of the Pyrenees. Then, the treaty concerned the Spanish autonomous communities of the Basque Country, Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia, and the French regions of Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon.

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