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Cross-Border Cooperation Structures in Europe

Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future


Edited By Luis Dominguez Castro and Iva Miranda Pires

Since its inception, one of the distinguishing features of the project of European integration has been the overcoming of internal borders. This aim has had one of the most remarkable outcomes in the history of cross-border cooperation, resulting in the creation of territorial structures known as Euroregions, with or without legal personality, and with substantial financial support from EU institutions. This distinctive element is characteristic of the models and achievements of cross-border cooperation in Europe and North America.
At a time of reflection about the European integration model and its future, it is interesting to investigate the different aspects involved in cross-border cooperation, from a historical perspective projected onto the future. This volume looks at cross-border cooperation from a multiplicity of perspectives, examining its motivations, its actors, its inclusion in the context of international relations, its organizational models, its outcomes and its impact on labour markets, economic development, neighbourhood policies and the creation of new identities. These issues are analysed within a number of different European geographical locations, assessing how far we have come and exploring the road that still lies ahead.
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Informal Cross-Border Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Area. Identity and Allegiance as a Hindrance and Possibility

1.  Introduction


Informal Cross-Border Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Area

Identity and Allegiance as a Hindrance and Possibility


Centre for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University

Informal cross-border cooperation, with a wide definition, includes all sorts of local actions involving actors from both sides of an international boundary, with the exception of those acts that are based on formal agreements backed by the two state governments or other international agencies. There is of course a wide intermediary zone, e.g. informal agreements between adjacent border municipalities. Included in the definition are, for example, cross-border marriages, football matches between the neighbouring border guards, common walking trails, use of summer houses on the other side and the use of the media “of the other side”.

In all these actions – and the lack of them – questions of identity and allegiance in relation to the local borderland and to the respective territorial states are raised.

In an old standard dictionary of concepts, Roget’s Thesaurus (1953/56)1, identity is under the section Relation: Absolute relation. As concepts related to identity are mentioned:

Noun: sameness, ditto, homogeneity, unity, coincidence, coalescence, convertibility, equality, self, oneself, identification, monotony, tautology, synonym, homonym, facsimile, same, self-, very-, one and the same, actual thing, no other. Verbs, adjectives and adverbs reflect the same set of words. According to the Swedish National Encyclopedia there are at least three different meanings of the word identity: one...

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