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Explaining Crossborder Cooperation: A Border-Focused and Border-External Approach

Joachim Blatter


The paper begins with an analytical model that was used for various studies within the framework of the research project "Preconditions for Successful Crossborder Cooperation on Environmental Issues" that was financed by the European Union and the Swiss government. The analytical model is based on a "rational" approach to public politics and is focused on the interests of the involved subregions and the institutions of cooperation within the crossborder regions. The use of the model enabled the research teams to explain a great deal of the environmental policy output and this approach was useful in developing recommendations for better practices.

Nevertheless, case studies showed much evidence that crossborder politics, and especially crossborder institution building, cannot be fully understood only by such a border-focused approach. Therefore, this paper expands previous efforts with a comprehensive description of influences from other political arenas beyond the crossborder arena. The hypothesis is that such interrelations between political arenas are major influencing factors for crossborder institution building, providing both incentives and restrictions for political activities and institutionalization. Several examples from border regions in Europe and North America illustrate this thesis.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229