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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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Cooperation Forums

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Cooperation forums are platforms for trans-border relations established either between national states on the intergovernmental level or between sub-national authorities on the interregional level.

Most cooperation forums exist at the inter-governmental level. They bring together two or more neighbouring states with a view to managing shared problems and to launch cross-border cooperation. The first forum of this type emerged during the interwar period, in 1921, with the creation of the Economic Union between Belgium and Luxemburg. On this basis, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands then established a customs union in 1944, which was ratified in 1947, came into effect ←195 | 196→on 1 January 1948 and was transformed into the economic union of Benelux in 1958. The Benelux union was also at the heart of the Schengen agreements signed in 1985 with France and Germany on the elimination of controls at internal borders. The Benelux Treaty was amended in 2008 to lay down three themes for future cooperation: the internal market and economic union, sustainable development, and justice and home affairs. It also set out the extension of cross-border cooperation and the possibility of collaboration with the regional cooperation bodies of other European Union (EU) member states.

The second intergovernmental cooperation forum was put in place in the early 1950s by the countries of northern Europe, the Nordic Council, created in 1952 between Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden. It was expanded to Finland in 1955, followed by the Faeroe Islands and Åland...

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