chapter  12
Living on the edge: migration, citizenship and the renegotiation of social contracts in European border regions
Pages 21

Introduction The field of border studies focuses heavily on the “the social construction of border regions”. Scholars generally focus on the role of local authorities and civil society in the promotion of cross-border cooperation. Thus far, the field of migration studies has been slow to recognize this trend. Most studies on migration and borders concentrate on controls, human rights, organized crime, etc. Often these studies discuss the interaction of the EU and national authorities in migration affairs, and borders are simply “the place where politics happens” (Foucher, 1986). Studies on migration and citizenship focus heavily on nationstates and tension with supranational actors. These trends in contemporary scholarship on borders and migration in Europe reflect political realities on the continent in these fields. The EU is currently promoting two processes that affect both territorial governance and how citizens relate to these territories. First, the evolution of the EU has led to significant development in the field of cross-border cooperation. The emergence of Interreg programmes and the elimination of interior border controls since the signing of the Schengen Accords has fostered a new governance landscape in Europe, generally acknowledged by the term “multi-level governance”, which describes the interaction of local, national and European authorities in decision-making, especially in cross-border contexts. This process has extended to include crossborder cooperation between localities at the EU’s external borders as well. Conversely, European responses to migration have reinforced border controls. The emergence of Frontex, the EU border control agency, the construction of walls in certain parts of the EU’s external borders and the externalization of these borders through cooperation agreements with third party states have reinforced Europe’s commitment to migration control. Scholars in this field such as Hansen and Weil (2001) have noted that these political efforts have reinforced the division between “European” and “non-European” distinctions in terms of citizenship. Thus, it seems that these two processes lack coherence. On one hand, the EU is fostering cross-border cooperation, but it is simultaneously reinforcing these borders in terms of population movements. For this reason, border areas are the

places where the incoherence between these policies is most evident. This has been noted by scholars such as Brunet-Jailly, Alscher, Koff, etc. in terms related to governance, human security, human rights, etc. One aspect of this political negotiation that has not been highlighted in the border and migration literatures is citizenship. If border regions simultaneously represent political divides and zones of cooperation, the residents of these areas are active participants in these simultaneous processes. For this reason, this chapter examines how the convergence of different levels of citizenship affects territories and their residents at the EU’s external borders. The chapter reflects on empirical research conducted in Spain-Morocco (specifically Melilla-Nador) and Italy-Albania (particularly Bari-Durres). It approaches the study of migration, cross-border cooperation and citizenship through the lens of “the social contract” defined as the implicit agreement that binds residents of cross-border regions to each other and polities. The study examines how cross-border cooperation in these border communities has affected notions of citizenship in these regions and how these ideas impact local responses to immigration. Specific attention is paid to the coherence of policies in the fields of cross-border cooperation and immigration. The premise for the chapter is that social contracts are perpetually renegotiated by residents of cross-border regions and thus, citizenship has been de-territorialized in that economic, social, and political rights reflect developments in transnational integration.