Authors: Milan Bfon*, Science and Research Centre
Topics: Political Geography, Europe, Social Geography
Keywords: Political geography, Borders and Cross-Border Cohesion, Slovenia
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Bacchus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
The paper will present both past developments and recent situations concerning border structure and cross-border social cohesion in Slovenia, one of the most typical Central European contact regions. For Centuries it represented the southern borderland of the Austrian Empire in the Balkans, whilst in the Yugoslav period, following WW 1 and in particular WW 2, it assumed the function of northern link with Western Europe. After achieving independence in 1991, it became, after Luxembourg, the European state with the most pronounced border character and a real laboratory for studying border issues and cross-border integration processes. Here, we may observe the different “philosophy” related to the different periods within which Slovenian borders were created. Also, we may observe that potentials for cross-border (re)integration are generally much greater in the typology of “new” boundaries, in particular in those border areas, characterized by functional co-dependence and inhabited by national minorities. The paper will discuss the results of this analyses and both differences and developments emerged from researches conducted first in 2007, before Slovenia entered into the Schengen space of free circulation in the EU, and then repeated almost ten years later. The results fully support the thesis that the elimination of political and administrative barriers to cross-border circulation represent a key-factor for strengthening cross-border cooperation and social (re)integration. They may also use as a lesson for all those in Central Europe (and elsewhere) that would like to return to an “iron curtain” border organization and management.