Cross-Border Conflicts:


It is not only in remote areas of other continents. Yet cross-border conflicts affect some European territories, hindering further cooperation and integration. During a study on Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) in West Africa, we have found both promising areas (though periodically afflicted by different tensions) and borders of conflict, really challenging areas for integration. We also found in Latin American some border areas where conflict is really present, despite of the many cross-border cooperation initiatives along most of their long border lines. This is particularly the case in Central America. But we also find in Europe well-known conflicts affecting borders. This happens between countries outside the EU, as it is the case of the South Caucasus, where the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is the scenario of a delicate conflict since decades regarding Nagorno-Karabakh. Also in the Caucasus, it is of great concern for Georgia the continuing Russian military and security-related presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Other conflicts are located closer to the external borders of the EU. One of this conflicts, which is being tackled as well by the international community, is the case of Transnistria, a complex case at the Moldavian-Ukrainian border. And others affect the EU external borders, as it is the case of the River Evros border between Greece and Turkey. Greek government announced at the beginning of February the construction of a fence to better control one of the busiest EU crossing point for illegal migration. However, the EU Commission refused to co-finance it, as it is a short term measure not solving migration problems. Other external borders of the EU (which will become internal borders very soon) also face conflicts, but these are in their way to be solved. This is the case of the Slovenian-Croatian border arbitration tribunal for a border dispute around Piran Bay, opposing both countries since the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, and being a main obstacle for Croatian EU accession. In other cases, the conflict affecting border areas is not about sovereignty claims on specific territories, but about the situation of minorities. The AEBR is mapping detected conflicts related to minorities, and is looking for a strong partnership in order to further analyse this. On the one hand, the case of the Roma people (in their traditional areas, but also in the European scale) is to be particularly studied, but there are also some other cases, related to linguistic and cultural issues, spotting many of European border areas. Very recently, Serbia and Romania have reached an agreement on the Vlach minority in Serbia. This happened just before the European Council of 1-2 March, thus solving Romanian objections to Serbian accession candidacy.

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