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The Institutionalization of Transboundary Cooperation in Europe: Recent Development on the Dutch-German Border

James Wesley Scott


Paying particular attention to legal and organizational aspects, this article attempts to analyze transboundary institution-building within the context of European integration and changes in European regional policy. Based on a short case study of the Dutch-German EUREGIO, it is argued that new EC regional development programs and national government support have helped this border area association define strategies enabling it to circumvent legal technicalities, establishing defacto (although not dejure) public agencies responsible for coordinating transboundary cooperation efforts. Additionally, the EUREGIO and other Dutch-German border area associations have vigorously pursued transboundary economic development schemes that have tended to cement working relationships and elicit central government support.

Europe's progress in transboundary cooperation must be viewed in the context of developments taking place there, especially the growth of a unitary market and political and economic union. Nevertheless, it is suggested that North American border regions may be able to learn from European experience - particularly in the light of the North American Trade Agreement - developing strategies that mobilize local political sentiment and help overcome the influence of ideologies of national sovereignty at regional, state and national levels.

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