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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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Channel Arc


Compared to other European cross-border regions, the Channel area (covering southern England, northern France and the maritime space between) presents several barriers to cooperation. The most obvious is the Channel itself, which ranges between 33km and 240km wide. This limits some features seen in other regions, such as cross-border commuting or cross-border public service provision. While the construction of the Channel Tunnel now provides a connection between England and France, the operation of services between capital cities has led to a corridor effect meaning direct connections within the Channel region remain limited. The border between England and France is also marked ←172 | 173→by different languages, administrative structures and political cultures. It is surprising, then, that despite these challenges cross-border cooperation has developed.

The development of cross-border cooperation has built on a long shared history between southern England and northern France. While the Channel itself represents a geographical barrier not found in many other cross-border regions, it can nevertheless be regarded as a shared space. From the late 1940s attempts were made to formalize cross-border links with the emergence of several town-twinning associations, though this cooperation was limited to civic and cultural engagement. However, cooperation intensified from the late 1980s. The marked change here was formalization of cross-border cooperation through bilateral cooperation accords, which committed regional and local authorities to work together in substantive policy areas beyond the more traditional civic and cultural engagement activities. This process started with an accord between Kent and...

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