My infatuation with planning at EU level may have been at the expense of due attention to cross-border cooperation. It could have gone the other way. One of my first interviews has been with Viktor Freiherr von Malchus, German pioneer of cross-border cooperation largely through the Council of Europe. But I grasped the opportunity instead of tagging on to a former student and dear friend of mine, Derek Martin, from his vantage point at the Dutch National Spatial Planning Agency taking a hand in ‘The Making of the European Spatial Development Perspective’ (Faludi, Waterhout 2002). The focus was on the European Community, soon the European Union. Taking me to the lofty heights of integration theory has eventually made me question the role of the state and its ‘territorialism’ (Faludi 2020 [2018]). In the course of which Jean Peyrony of DATAR (Délégation à l’aménagement du territoire et à l’action régionale) and of now MOT (Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière / Transfrontier Operational Mission) incentivised me to read more French and also to refocus on cross-border cooperation.
From her vantage point as the ideal-typical nation state, France makes a self-conscious effort to conceptualise and practice cross-border cooperation, in particular – though of course not exclusively – with Germany. This in the same spirit – witness the Elysee Treaty and the Treaty of Aix la Chapelle (Aachen) – in which she has worked for reconciliation by means of the ‘deconstruction of the Rhineland Frontier’ (Loriaux 2008). No wonder that there is much relevant action – including research – along this axes accompanied by the emergence of cross-border identities, German-French Birte Wassenberg, Professor at the Université de Strasbourg being an example. (For her personal story see: Wassenberg, 2020) With Bernard Reitel and in collaboration with Jean Peyrony and Jean Rubio she has edited a vast collection of relevant experiences. (Wassenberg, Reitel 2020) Extensive introductions and an afterword on COVID-19 spearheaded by Reitel, Professor at Artois University – another hotspot of cross-border cooperation spread over several medium-sized towns of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and the Walloon Region of Belgium – apart, the volume comprises often multiple entries by 124 authors. They include a modest one by myself on ‘Spatial Planning’.
To even attempt to review 859 pages of material would seem pretentious. I merely draw attention to thIs invaluable source.

References:
Faludi, A., Waterhout, B. (2002) The Making of the European Spatial Development Perspective: Routledge, London.
Faludi, A. (2020 [2018]) The Poverty of Territorialism, Edgar Elgar, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA
Loriaux, M. (2008) European Union and the Deconstruction of the Rhineland Frontier, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Wassenberg B. (2020) ’”Return of Mental Borders”: A Diary of COVID-19 Closures between Kehl, Germany, and Strasbourg, France’, Borders in Globalization Review, 2(1) 114-120.
Wassenberg, B., Reitel, B. in collaboration with Peyrony, J., Rubio, J. (Eds.) (2020) Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European IntegrationPeter Lang, Brussels.

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