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Cross-Border Cooperation Structures in Europe

Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future

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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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From Europhoria to Crisis. Cross-Border Cooperation, Euroregions and Cohesion

1.  Introduction

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From Europhoria to Crisis?

Cross-Border Cooperation, Euroregions and Cohesion

James W. SCOTT

Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland

Cross-border co-operation (CBC) has been promoted by the European Union on the assumption that national and local identities can be complemented (perhaps partly transcended) and goals of co-development realised within a broader – a European – vision of community. As such, borders have been used as explicit symbols of European integration, political community, shared values and, hence, identity by very different actors1. Consequently, the Euroregion concept has proved a powerful tool with which to transport European values and objectives and to reinforce the EU’s political identity2. From their relatively modest beginnings as local expressions of good “neighbourliness” in Dutch-German border regions, Euroregions have been appropriated and promoted by policy entrepreneurs at the local, national and European level in order to signal a new quality of interstate integration within Europe. “De-bordering” within the enlarged European Union and new cross-border relations in Central and Eastern Europe indicate that not only states but citizens, communities and regions have chosen to open new avenues of communication with their neighbours across national boundaries. Furthermore, in those ← 81 | 82 → contexts where states have (re)gained their independence and new borders have emerged3, Euroregions, cross-border city partnerships and similar cooperation vehicles have also come into being4.

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