Border Regions and Cross-Border Cooperation in Europe. A Theoretical and Historical Approach

  • Thomas Lundén
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The creation of trans-border regions, as a reality or as a symbol, has to overcome state territorial indoctrination, because the names given to areas are often defined by the extent of influence of each state. Border studies encompass a wide range of scholarship, ranging from legal studies of demarcations and territorial rights to the study of border narratives and symbols, formal cross-border cooperation, and the actual spatial behaviour of borderland inhabitants. Where territorial states are in juxtaposition, differences between the jurisdictions have led to a hierarchical asymmetry that produces discords. The period 1989–1991 marks a sudden and profound change in the political geography of Europe. The birth, rebirth, and disappearance of territorial states led to a totally new situation of borders, both in their demarcation and in their degree of openness, and the sudden transformation of boundaries into international borders had profound impacts on cross-border transactions. The present political map of Europe hides a palimpsest of earlier territorial divisions, some forgotten, and others brought to memory by irredentist interests or by nostalgic tourists. Even after the eradication of the “east” and “west” dichotomy (or the move eastwards of the divide), many border-related issues remain. The relaxation of border controls in the Schengen Area has led to new developments. “Sleeping abroad and working at home” is a tendency in several borderlands, reflecting differences in the availability of housing and job opportunities in the adjacent states, but this also creates problems with taxation and the right to social services and education, even in areas with a common language.


Trans-border regions Cross-border cooperation Hierarchical asymmetry Territorial states 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn UniversityHuddinge (Stockholm)Sweden

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