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Contemporary European Border Regions: Conflicts and Cooperation

 Border regions are evermore an exciting research object. The European integration project aims at overcoming or even abolishing borders between the EU member states and devotes large funds to support projects and initiatives in that direction. On its external borders, the EU faces issues like undocumented migration, but also geopolitics and the elaboration of policies associating neighbouring countries as partners, if full membership cannot be achieved. Central and Eastern Europe has been (and still is) re-bordered since the fall of the iron curtain, with many unresolved issues. Border regions are the laboratories of European integration and a barometer of international conflict or cooperation.

The Centre for Border Region Studies (CBRS) analyses the manifold aspects of European border regions and the processes of de- and re-bordering herein. With an empiric base in the Danish-German border region and a broad network of international colleagues we attempt to closely follow developments in European border regions, focusing both on border conflicts, but also on barriers and opportunities in non-conflictual inner EU border regions. A special focus is put on inner European cross-border cooperation. Traditionally a matter of foreign policy, regional actors in Europe have started to cooperate across European borders since the 1960’s. Today, so-called Euroregions span virtually every European border, and the European Union has included cross-border cooperation into its Cohesion Policy. Still, European borders remain, and many cross-border activities are met by obstacles and their success is mixed at the most.

 

With its research, the CBRS will contribute to the development of the research field of border studies internationally, but also to policy-making in border regions appealing to a broad network of stakeholders and policymakers in the Danish-German border region as well as on a European level.

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