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Book Review

Region building, National borders and EU enlargement

EU Enlargement, Region Building and Shifting Borders of Inclusion and Exclusion is one of seven volumes in the 'Border Regions Series' that deals with all aspects of border regions, both empirically and theoretically. The book covers the wider meanings of borders in light of the deepening European integration process and Europe's new and prospective "enlargement". It also analyses the socioeconomic and political transformations that this shift has caused in new regional development opportunities, and their related potential problems and tensions. The core issue of this collection of case studies from Central and Eastern Europe is the need to underpin the fact that while some elements of EU policy work to enhance cooperation and cross-border interaction, others work against this.

The publication gives an overview of the 2004 entry of 10 Central and Eastern European countries, along with Malta and Cyprus, into the EU and the huge shift this has caused in the EU's external boundaries. This book examines and illustrates, with case studies from Central and Eastern European border areas, the capacities for region-building across national borders within the context of EU enlargement. EU Enlargement, Region Building and Shifting Borders of Inclusion and Exclusion is organised along four thematic sections: the first focuses on the geopolitics of EU enlargement, the second on the impact at new external borders, the third section analyses cooperation frameworks and cross-border regional development, and the fourth section focuses on the former external borders.

Edited by Dr James Wesley Scott, from the Department of Geography at the Free University of Berlin, Germany, the essays in the present volume are based on the EXLINEA research project, funded by the European Union and the Fifth Framework Programme (contract HPSE-CT-2002-00141).

Researchers in the fields of Social Sciences and Humanities analyse within an interdisciplinary approach specific case studies covering different issues, including the German-Polish border region, the new Ukrainian- Russian Euro regions, and the Romanian-Moldavian relations and crossborder cooperation.

In EU Enlargement, Region Building and Shifting Borders of Inclusion and Exclusion, James Wesley Scott summarises the various insights provided by local information and suggests ways forward for the future development of the EU's "Wider Europe" strategy. The editor underlines that the imposition of visa restrictions on non-EU citizens could pose obstacles to cooperation, conjuring fears of an emerging "fortress Europe" that effectively divides the continent.

Within a wider Europe perspective, EU policy is being oriented towards a long-term commitment to support local and regional initiatives of crossborder cooperation. The EU has expressed a will to avoid future divisions between "East" and "West" and "North" and "South". This is to be achieved through comprehensive cooperation agendas that transcend political, economic and cultural dividing lines, and that address socio-economic disparities, political tensions and potential conflicts of interest. In addition, a New Neighbourhood Instrument (NNI) is in the making that - theoretically - will improve the material and institutional conditions for cooperation with "non-EU Europe".

Dr James Wesley Scott states that it will be necessary to find mechanisms that mediate between external pressures and local concerns, and transcend socio-economic, political and systemic asymmetries. Therefore, the academic and everyday perceptions of borders, border regions and cross-border cooperation continue to be affected by overlying geopolitical events, reflecting the concerns of the times and processes of EU integration and enlargement.

The EXLINEA research project indicates that cross-border cooperation is a very selective project of networking and region-building. Having seen the embedded balance between inclusion and exclusion dynamics and discourses that characterise many borderlands contexts, the quality of cooperation will depend on the role regional stakeholders and/or political elites assume so as to promote a regional idea and bridge political/cultural differences.

Dr James Wesley Scott adds that these research perspectives have contributed to the fact that borders are now largely understood to be multifaceted social institutions rather than mere markers of state sovereignty.

Research as regards EU borders is focused on providing breakthroughs for a number of issues, such as the EU's emphasis on market integration and economic competitiveness that impact in differential ways on preexisting border heterogeneity. This manifests itself in a discussion of "bordering" and "rebordering" processes within and outside of the EU-25, and in an examination of capacities for region-building across national borders in Central and Eastern Europe. The cooperation initiatives under scrutiny involve, among others, cooperative structures, governance practices, conflict-minimising dialogue and strategies for joint economic development.

The volume, and indeed the book series, is a valuable resource for academics, policymakers, law practitioners and those interested in regional capacity building.

EU Enlargement, Region Building and Shifting Borders of Inclusion and Exclusion is published by Ashgate Publishing Limited.
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Freedom in the age of globalised insecurity

Terrorism and the Foreigner is the eleventh volume in an evolving series of books on European immigration and asylum law and policy. The book is the culmination of a study that used two events in recent history, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 and the terrorist attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001, to analyse the subsequent impact they have had on laws and practices in Europe. At the heart of the thought-provoking volume is the need to understand the effect that security-related measures have had on the legal status of immigrants and asylum seekers, and the extent to which current practices may be in conflict with fundamental principles of human rights.

The publication traces the developments in the laws and practices of the European Union and five of its Member States (the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Italy) in the decade that follows these two international milestones. Terrorism and the Foreigner is structured in two parts (the first focuses on the European dimension, and the second on responses at individual national levels), with each chapter examined carefully and in great detail by nine experts.

Edited by Elspeth Guild, professor of European Immigration Law at the University of Nijmegen, and Anneliese Baldaccini, committee specialist for the House of Lords European Union Committee, the book represents some of the results of the three-year ELISE (European Liberty and Security) project funded by the European Commission.

Researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including political science, sociology, international relations and law, collaborated on ELISE to pursue three core objectives: to extend the understanding of contemporary security challenges; to develop a more comprehensive account of the development of European security policies (both at a national and collective level) and their impact on European cohesion; and, finally, to identify the key challenges now confronting Member States and the European Union as a consequence of the many and varied forces reshaping the relationship between liberty and security.

In Terrorism and the Foreigner, Anneliese Baldaccini suggests that the implications for asylum seekers and immigration law appear significant in the context of the ongoing 'war on terror', as they become part of a transformation of law which makes every foreigner a suspect - a circumstance of the state of 'globalised insecurity'. Certainly, the editor points out, asylum and immigration law is more vulnerable to exceptional measures than other fields of law.

The study's findings, however, differ considerably from the theories presented by politicians, academics and others regarding the relationship between freedom and security at the present time. Professor Guild notes that the attacks of 11 September 2001 can not be regarded as 'an unprecedented event' which radically changed the nature of the modern world. She indicates that there are two characteristics that remain constant in the relationship between freedom and security.

In relation to changes in law to the position of foreigners, one of the most striking conclusions drawn is the lack of a direct link between measures adopted and the events themselves. 'Secondly,' Professor Guild notes, 'neither the forms of terrorism nor the responses constitute something fundamentally new and different. Continuity is also the overarching characteristic in respect of the treatment of foreigners, though this has tended to be continuity towards the precarious.'

Baldaccini adds that although some of the most blatant responses to recent acts of terror have been to try to seal borders, to detain suspects and to use the military and intelligence services for internal policing, none of these constitute novel measures.

The ongoing challenge, as summarised in the ELISE project findings' report, does not rest in establishing an acceptable balance between claims about security and claims about liberty. 'It lies in the need for much more rigorous scrutiny of the conditions under which claims about security warrant the suspension of liberties and freedoms. It requires much more sustained attention to the ways in which the restructuring of political life in response to many different forces is being especially shaped, and distorted.'

The volume, and indeed the book series, is a valuable resource for academics, policymakers, law practitioners and those interested in contemporary policy debates and analyses of European legislation.

Terrorism and the Foreigner: a decade of tension around the rule of law in Europe is published by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
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  • (...) Second, in contrast with standard cross-country analysis, we can control for unobserved factors that, on average, are likely to have the same effect on productivity in both policy-binding and non-binding industries.