Article

Passer par l'étape "proto-eurorégionale" : le cas de la Région Transfrontalière Sicile-Malte (Going through the Proto-Euroregional Stage: The Case of the Sicily-Malta Cross-Border Region)

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  • Wise Angle Consulting S.L
Article

Passer par l'étape "proto-eurorégionale" : le cas de la Région Transfrontalière Sicile-Malte (Going through the Proto-Euroregional Stage: The Case of the Sicily-Malta Cross-Border Region)

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Abstract

RÉSUMÉ-Cet article traite des régions transfrontalières qui existent actuellement dans l'Union européenne et qui sont géné-ralement traitées par la littérature sur la coopération transfrontalière européenne et la gouvernance transfrontalière. L'objectif est de construire une typologie spécifique pour les régions transfrontalières qualifiées de proto-eurorégionales. D'une part, la recherche construit un cadre théorique pour leur compréhension en utilisant les théories du néorégionalisme, les processus d' européanisation ascendante et surtout le modèle de Metzger (2013) de « régions en devenir comme public en stabilisation ». D'autre part, l'article cherche à tester la validité de cette typologie proto-euroré-gionale par l'étude du cas de la région transfrontalière Sicile-Malte. L'argument est également étayé par une analyse qualitative basée sur des entretiens menés auprès des acteurs politico-institutionnels, de la direction d'INTERREG et des acteurs participants pour la période 2007-2013. ABSTRACT-This article deals with the cross-border regional realities that currently exist in the European Union, and which are generally addressed by the literature on European cross-border cooperation and cross-border governance. The objective is to develop a specific typology for cross-border regions described as proto-eu-roregional. On the one hand, the research builds a theoretical framework for their understanding that draws on the theories of Neo-Regionalism, the processes of bottom up Europeanisation and above all the Metzger model (2013) of "regions-in-becoming as publics-in-stabilization". On the other hand, the article tests the validity of this proto-euroregional typology by studying the case of the cross-border region Sicily-Malta. The argument is also supported by a qualitative analysis based on interviews with political-institutional actors, INTERREG management and participating actors for the period 2007-2013.

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This paper deals with the analysis of a specific kind of cross-border regional reality currently overseen by mainstream literature, namely what we define as 'proto-euroregional' structures. The failed advent of a "Europe of the Regions" (Wynn and Scully, 2010) has not prevented the emergence of further academic contributions questioning the role of regions in contemporary European space (Bellini & Hilpert, Keating, Paasi, Perrin among others). At the same time, new advances have sought to fill the gaps over the mechanisms and functionality of cross-border regions (CBRs) (i.e. Miorner, Trippl, Zimmerbauer). However, in contradiction to a certain tendency in classifying a European West vs. East divide over regionalist practices (Pasquier, 2015), we hereby suggest the vision of a more accurate European center-periphery duality in the acknowledgement of CBRs. The main distinction would thus concern the differences between structured CBRs (in terms of governance and outputs) generally located along the borders of heartland Europe and 'proto-euroregional' territories at the EU peripheries (all except Northern Europe). The latter would include regions with less experience of cooperation and whose cross-border activities are still 'in-the-making'; accordingly, we refer to CBRs where INTERREG-funded activities have not (perhaps yet) brought a corresponding political governance platform. Following a theoretical framework closely related to theories of regionalisation and region-building, we take as main reference the work of Metzger (2013) and his model on 'regions-in-becoming as publics-in-stabilization' to construct our own operational definition of a 'proto-euroregional' CBR. We then provide a case-study of one such region to be found in the Sicily-Malta cross-border area to support our argument through a qualitative analysis of selected interviews to both institutional and INTERREG-participating actors from the CBR.
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