The Frontiers of the European Union

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  • The Frontiers of theEuropean Union

    Malcolm Andersonwith

    Eberhard Bort

  • The Frontiers of the European Union

  • Also by Malcolm Anderson

    FRONTIERS: Territory and State Formation in the Contemporary World

    THE FRONTIERS OF EUROPE (co-editor with Eberhard Bort)

    THE IRISH BORDER: History, Politics and Culture (with Eberhard Bort)


    Also by Eberhard Bort

    BOUNDARIES AND IDENTITIES: The Eastern Frontier of the European Union

    THE FRONTIERS OF EUROPE (co-editor with Malcolm Anderson)

    THE IRISH BORDER: History, Politics and Culture (with Malcolm Anderson)

  • The Frontiers of theEuropean UnionMalcolm AndersonProfessor EmeritusUniversity of Edinburgh


    Eberhard BortCoordinator of Governance of Scotland ForumEdinburgh

  • Malcolm Anderson and Eberhard Bort 2001

    All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission ofthis publication may be made without written permission.

    No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied ortransmitted save with written permission or in accordance withthe provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988,or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copyingissued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham CourtRoad, London W1P 0LP.

    Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to thispublication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civilclaims for damages.

    The authors have asserted their rights to be identifiedas the authors of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

    First published 2001 byPALGRAVEHoundmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y. 10010Companies and representatives throughout the world

    PALGRAVE is the new global academic imprint of St. Martins Press LLC Scholarly and Reference Division andPalgrave Publishers Ltd (formerly Macmillan Press Ltd).

    ISBN 033380435X

    This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling andmade from fully managed and sustained forest sources.

    A catalogue record for this book is availablefrom the British Library.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataAnderson, Malcolm.

    The frontiers of the European Union / Malcolm Anderson and Eberhard Bort.

    p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 033380435X1. European Union countriesBoundaries. 2. European Union

    countriesForeign economic relationsEurope, Eastern.3. EuropeForeign relations. 4. Social integrationEuropean Union countries. 5. International cooperation. 6. Europe, EasternForeign economic relationsEuropean Union countries. I. Bort,Eberhard, 1954 II. Title.

    D1065.E852 A44 2000341.242'2dc21


    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 110 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01

    Printed and bound in Great Britain byAntony Rowe Ltd, Chippenham, Wiltshire

  • Contents

    List of Maps viiAcknowledgements viii

    1 Introduction 1

    2 Theory 13Geographical theories 13State sovereignty and national sovereignty 16Frontiers of security communities 22Frontiers as factors in economic activity 25Cultural frontiers 28The globalisation debate and images of frontiers 35Theory and practice 42

    3 Internal Frontier Issues 45Natural frontiers? 45Sparse and dense exchanges 47Linguistic and cultural divides 49Frontier controls 56Transfrontier co-operation between local and regionalauthorities 62Conclusion 73

    4 The Case of French Frontiers 75Perceptions of territory 75Sensitive frontiers from military to economic vulnerability 77The FrenchItalian frontier 87The Pyrenees frontier 91Policing the frontiers 99The cultural frontier 106Conclusion the local, the European and the global 110

    5 The External Frontier of the European Union 113External frontiers and the European state 113Categories of external frontiers 115Scandinavian external frontiers 122The Swiss frontiers 126


  • The Mediterranean frontier 128Conclusion 141

    6 The Case of the Eastern Frontier of the European Union 143Enlargement: setting the scene 143Strategies 159Conclusion 172

    7 Conclusion 174

    Notes 184

    Bibliography 200

    Index 224

    vi Contents

  • List of Maps

    1.1 New frontiers in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 2

    3.1 Priority areas for INTERREG programmes 694.1 France: the northeastern frontier 784.2 France: the eastern frontier 884.3 France: the Pyrenean frontier 926.1 EU enlargement 1456.2 Euroregions on the eastern frontier of the EU 168


  • Acknowledgements

    Essential nancial support for the research on which this book is basedwas generously provided by an Economic and Social Research Councilgrant (ESRC No. R000 23 5602) and by a Nufeld Trust Fellowshipwhich gave relief from teaching duties.

    Edinburgh colleagues Anthony Cohen, Neil MacCormick, TomNairn, Peter Cullen (Trier), Jim Sheptycki (Durham) and WilliePaterson (Birmingham) helped in a variety of ways. A network of col-leagues throughout Europe provided insights, information and ma-terial help. We particularly thank Didier Bigo (Paris) and RaimondoStrassoldo (Udine).

    Conferences and meetings were facilitated with the help of Europa-Zentrum Baden-Wrttemberg (Sabine Leins), Europahaus Wien (ErichWendl) and Accademia Europeistica Gorizia (Pio Baissero).

    We are grateful to Anona Lyons (Department of Geography,University of Edinburgh) for drawing the maps in this book.


  • 1Introduction

    Since the beginning of the turbulent twentieth century the changes,both in location and function, of European frontiers have been dra-matic. The old multinational empires in Europe were showing signs ofserious strain before 1914, and were already disintegrating in theBalkans. Even the multinational British state was on the verge of break-ing up, threatened by Irish secession, because of the failure to establisha British Isles identity. In the immediate aftermath of the First WorldWar, radically new frontiers were drawn, inuenced by the interests ofthe victors and by the principle of the self-determination of nations, inCentral and Eastern Europe. The Second World War again resulted inboundary redrawing in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the parti-tion of Germany. Transfer of populations on a massive scale accompa-nied this reallocation of territory, producing a greater coincidence ofnational and state frontiers. Territorial questions were then frozen for a40-year period, during which time an Iron Curtain separated twoincompatible political and economic systems.

    The frontiers of Europe returned, in the 1990s, to the centre of politi-cal debate, as the European Union (EU) member states took furthersteps towards closer co-operation and as radical transformation fol-lowed the collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe.Within the EU, integration gained momentum through the 1986Single European Act, creating the Single European Market (SEM) by 1 January 1993; at the same time, a border-free Europe was envisagedin the 1985 Schengen Agreement and the 1990 Schengen Convention.Economic and political integration presaged a blurring of the distinc-tion between international and sub-state boundaries within the EU,and particularly within Schengenland. This raised the possibility that,as international frontiers lost the visible trappings of police, border


  • check points and barriers, their importance as markers of identitywould become more important. The effects of the abolition of controlsat internal frontiers and parallel measures the most important beingthe establishment of a new currency area will be radical even thoughslow to take effect.

    The collapse of Communism resulted in the drawing of approx-imately 20 000 kilometres of new international frontiers a recon-guration of the political map only witnessed before in Europe aftermajor wars (Map 1.1). The end of the Soviet empire also allowedopening of the borders to East and Central Europe in 198990 andcreated the prospect of EU and NATO enlargement towards the east.

    2 The Frontiers of the European Union

    Map 1.1 New frontiers in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989

    New boundaries =

    00 500 km

    500 miles

















    SICILY (lt)






















  • This cataclysm therefore created both new international frontiers asnew states were established, and it altered the nature of these frontiers.The end of Communism and the opening of frontiers help to heal thewound of the Iron Curtain and abolish the unnatural division of thecontinent. The practices of the EU, including its mode of frontier man-agement, have been extended to the East; EU programmes, INTERREGand PHARE, have supported the creation of Euroregions along theformer Cold War border. But there is contradiction between the projectfor EU enlargement and the Schengen practices which entail hardenedexternal frontiers. One of the most closed frontiers in recent historyhad been dismantled, but the EU countries still perceive threats comingfrom the east and their response has been to delay EU enlargement andengage in relative closure of frontiers. The response from the EUseastern neighbours is a question. Why invest in improved border con-trols at a frontier which would become, in the relatively near future,part of the border-free Europe?


    Border-related issues which have surfaced during the main period ofpreparation of this book April 1995 to September 1998 have beenparticularly acute on the external frontier of the EU from the Finno-Russian frontier in the north to the Mediterranean in the south.Among the most discussed are:

    The gulf in socio-economic development with even the most devel-oped of the East-Central European states lagging far behind even thepoorest EU members in all indicators of economic activity.

    Differences of state organisation, federalised (Germany and Austria)or decentralised (Italy), confronted by centralised states (Poland,Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia) result in difculty for trans-frontier co-operation.

    Elites in the new democracies harbour worries about their identityand culture being overrun by global, usually American, imports, andregard frontiers as important for cultural defence.

    The Mediterranean states Greece, Italy, France and Spain are on acultural frontier between countries of Christian tradition and Islam,an even deeper chasm in terms of economic developement. Thesesouthern EU states are faced with difcult problems of frontiercontrol, and a lack of solidarity on the part of their EU partners inconfronting their problems.

    Introduction 3

  • The Finno-Russian frontier is set to remain, for the foreseeablefuture, the external limit of the EU. It is also the only border sharedby an EU member state with Russia, and the contrast between arich, developed, well-managed Western economy and a transitionalmismanaged economy is nowhere more marked than along thisfrontier.

    The GermanPolish border has had, as the eastern frontier of the EUin general, an explosion of transfrontier trafc. Euroregions coverthe whole frontier zone, from Pomerania in the north toNeisse/Nysa in the south (Gerner 1997). Yet, this border has repeat-edly been termed a crime zone by the former German Minister forthe Interior, and costly efforts have been undertaken by Germany topolice it (Bort 1996).

    Sporadic Polish fears are voiced that Germans may return to reclaimproperty seized during the great expulsion of Germans from the ter-ritory annexed by Poland in 1945 (Gruchman and Walk 1997;Kennard 1997).

    The CzechGerman border, although comprehensively covered byco-operative transfrontier Euroregions, still lives under the cloud ofthe Sudeten problem. The Sudeten Germans, supported by theBavarian government as guardian of their interests (largely becauseit depends on the Sudeten vote), are dissatised with the January1997 GermanCzech Agreement.

    The velvet divorce of Czechoslovakia in 1993 created a new fron-tier between the Czech Republic and Slovakia which was deemed toact as a lter for illegal immigrants and to relieve pressure at theCzechGerman frontier (Bort 1996).

    Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia have been, atleast partially, successful in implementing Schengen-type controls at their eastern frontiers which has persuaded their westernneighbours to keep their western EU borders as open as compatiblewith the Schengen restrictions.

    The Hungarians, having initiated the dismantling of the IronCurtain in 1989, were offended when, in preparation for full imple-mentation of Schengen, Austria started to control this frontier as theexternal EU border.

    Slovenia and Croatia have, since 1992 when they seceded fromYugoslavia, been engaged in establishing new international fron-tiers; the internal boundary-making in Bosnia-Hercegovina proved anightmare for the EU. The Kosovo crisis of 1998, including a dirtyborder war, threatened larger conict.

    4 The Frontiers of the European Union

  • Wave after wave of Albanian refugees tried to make their way intoItaly, which after having been until very recently a country of emi-gration was confronted, on various sectors of its 8000 kilometresof sea frontiers, with intractable immigration problems.

    This inux of desperate Kurds, Albanians and African refugees raisedthe issue of an EU common responsibility for, and sharing theburden of, policing the external frontier (Anderson 1998).

    Greece has the peculiarity, shared with the United Kingdom1 andIreland, of having no common land frontier with another EU state.Its international land borders are under stress in Macedonia, Thrace,Epirus and over the Aegean Sea border and over divided Cyprus. In1996, the Aegean dispute came close to provoking war betweenGreece and Turkey over the uninhabited Imia/Kardak island.

    Spain and Portugal, traditionally countries of emigration areexposed to migratory pressures from the southern shores of theMediterranean (Burke 1998). Ceuta and Melilla, the only landborders of the EU with Africa, are seen by African migrants as gate-ways to the EU.

    Spain is involved in the only territorial dispute between EU memberstates. Gibraltar has been a bone of contention between the UK andSpain for many years and has become, with Spains participation inSchengen, an external Schengen border. This dispute is a potentialhurdle for the UK wanting to opt in to parts or the whole ofSchengen.

    Within the EU, the issues raised by internal frontiers have received lesspublicity but crucial developments have taken place. Amongst theseare the implementation of the Schengen agreements in 1995 and theirintegration into the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, and the ratication of theBayonne and Karlsruhe treaties giving the possibility of nancialautonomy to transfrontier bodies set up by regional and local author-ities. There have been persistent concerns that co-operation betweenlaw enforcement agencies was not sufcient to the task o...


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