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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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Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe


World War II left Europe with many new borders, even dividing Germany into four occupation zones. In the 1950s, young European federalists started to dismantle border barriers by fighting for freedom of travel between European countries. However, it was not until 1985, with the signing of the Schengen Agreement, that systematic barriers to intra-European mobility were dismantled between five of the original member states of the European Community (France, Germany and the Benelux states).

As early as the 1960s, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe attempted to convince its member states that they should facilitate cross-border cooperation. This was performed through the European Conference on Local Authorities (ECLA), set-up under the auspices of the Council of Europe in 1957, which became the Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) in 1975 and later the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (1994).

In 1972, when the ECLA organized the first European Symposium of Border Regions in Strasbourg, the Swiss philosopher and regionalist Denis de Rougemont, who chaired the working group on Culture, defined borders as “scars of history”. The participants of the Symposium understood that national borders (even where deemed as “natural”) would result in the nation states being eager to transform them into insurmountable barriers. To reassure member states, it was reasserted that that the establishment of cross-border cooperation between local authorities would imply the recognition of existing borders that would not be moved again and would therefore help ensure...

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