An ethical code for cross-border governance
Borders resonate with political, economic, cultural, environmental and religious issues. They are linked to immigration and citizenship, law and disorder, ecological disasters and environmental regulation. Moreover, when we deal with borders we cannot avoid engaging with national, regional and other identities and ethnic issues. It is thus not surprising that the European Union (EU) has put border management at the core of its policies in order to ensure states’ stability, wealth, and the well-being of people, as well as to guarantee safe and sustainable environmental spaces. But how is cross-border cooperation (CBC) pursued in border zones where people live, meet, shape their identities, and share a common border space? What are the strategies adopted by the European Union in order to spread cohesion and integration which are not just economic and political, but also social, and cultural? This chapter will try to engage with these questions by conceptualizing CBC in a holistic way by considering the ethical dimension of it, the values that are behind and move CBC, and the ‘ethical-humanist’ reasons that enhance border-cooperation. The main argument is that CBC governance should be linked to people-to-people relations, and to how people’s life could be improved thanks to, because of, and through CBC. The final goal is to provide a sound new theoretical foundation in order to analyze and understand CBC through this ethical lens that has been so far downplayed both by at the European Union level and in academic research.