15 Feb 18

Exploring cross-border integration in Europe: How do populations cross borders and perceive their neighbours?

Authors: DECOVILLE Antoine, DURAND Frédéric.

Online First: 09/02/2018



Since its creation, the European Union seems to be guided by the idea that an increase in cross-border flows contributes to more European unity. Thus, emphasis has been placed for instance on lowering customs tariffs and encouraging the free movement of goods and people. However, if the opening up of borders creates new opportunities for some residents of border regions, there are others who do not benefit. For this reason, and in a context characterized by the rise of Euroscepticism, it seems crucial to take a more critical look at actual cross-border integration and to unravel its concrete consequences for the people who live in border regions. This paper aims to do so by focusing on two aspects of this process: the functional dimension, through the number of cross-border activities, and the perceptions border residents have of their neighbours, through the level of mutual social trust. The EUROBAROMETER 422 survey is used in order to produce statistical analyses and maps. This enables us to offer a new image of European cross-border integration and to draw the following conclusions. Firstly, cross-border flows are not uniform and vary greatly from one cross-border area to another. Secondly, cross-border regions in which the intensity of flows between neighbouring regions is high do not necessarily show a high level of mutual social trust between borderland populations. Thirdly, there is no reciprocity with regard to the mutual social trust that people have towards their neighbours within cross-border areas.

Reference: DECOVILLE Antoine, DURAND Frédéric. Exploring cross-border integration in Europe: How do populations cross borders and perceive their neighbours? European Urban and regional Studies, 2018.

Border regions,
cross-border integration,
European integration,

Linked publications
DURAND Frédéric, DECOVILLE Antoine.
In: Eduardo Medeiros (Ed.) European Territorial Cooperation. Springer International Publishing, 2018, pp. 229-244.
DECOVILLE Antoine, DURAND Frédéric.
Transactions of the Association of European Schools of Planning, 2017, vol. 1, n°1, pp. 65-78.
DECOVILLE Antoine, DURAND Frédéric.
European Planning Studies, 2016, vol. 24, n°10, pp. 1825-1843.