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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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Cross-Border Cooperation


“Borders are scars of history. One must not forget these scars, but for developing Europe’s future we must also not cultivate them”. This quotation is often used to explain the existence of cross-border cooperation in Europe. It was originally introduced by Alfred Mozer, member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany and Secretary of the Agrarian Commissioner of the first European Commission in 1958, who, was given the task of founding the first cross-border Euregio along the German-Dutch border.

As a term, cross-border cooperation was then officially introduced in 1980, in the European Framework Convention on Transfrontier Cooperation between Territorial Communities or Authorities adopted by the Member States of Council of Europe in Madrid. It refers to those relations being created between actors who cross the border between two neighbouring states, with the overall goal to overcome or to weaken its negative effects. In Europe, after World War II, national political borders had indeed also become psychological barriers marked by the souvenirs of painful experiences. Cross-border cooperation was meant to heal these psychological scars of the borders and to make the border a place of exchange instead of a division line. The historical beginning of these types of neighbourhood relations were the twin-towns which were formed from the 1950s onwards between communes at the border between France and Germany. However, cross-border cooperation englobes a wide range of actors ranging from states to regional or local authorities and form private association to the citizens. In this...

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