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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 Labour Mobility


According to the European Commission, the European Union (EU) has 40 internal land border regions, which represent 40 % of the Union’s territory and close to 30 % of the EU population. Cross-border labour mobility is identified by the European Commission as, “the most important area directly affected by border obstacles”. However, labour mobility can lead to a stronger sense of European citizenship. These possibilities mean that border regions have the potential to exceptionally benefit from European integration. Yet, at this point border regions within the EU are generally still far away from realizing this potential. Economic performances and access to services are generally lower in border regions. An improved cross-border labour mobility would be a means to improve their situation. However, today working across borders still brings many obstacles for both employers and employees.

The focus of this article is on cross-border work, where people have a realistic possibility to commute cross-border every day. Cross-border mobility in this sense is different from transnational mobility where EU citizens decide to migrate to another EU member state. Cross-border work depends on the question whether it is possible to establish integrated cross-border labour markets in particular cross-border territories.

A basic obstacle for both employers and employees is the general lack of labour market integration. For employers, the lack of integration of employment services means there is no proper means of accessing the potential employee pool on the other side of the border. For workers, this lack...

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