The Case for an Open Border: A PostFunctionalist Framework of Cross-Border Cooperation. An Analysis of the Cooperation on Immigration in the Euroregion Tyrol – South Tyrol – Trentino
Working on Europe Paper Series, paper number: 1/2020
In 2015, during the peak of Europe’s refugee crisis, the Euroregion Tyrol – South Tyrol – Trentino decided to activate a joint response to the migratory pressures to avoid the closure of the border between Austria and Italy. This constitutes an unprecedented case of cross-border cooperation at regional level on a sensitive policy issue. In times when national interests were clashing with each other, this cross-border space managed to find a common position and cooperate in a policy area that traditionally constitutes a national competence. Why was that possible? This article aims at addressing this question by drawing on postfunctionalism to identify the factors that triggered the cooperation at cross-border regional level. Based on the examination of documents and interviews, the analysis shows that functional pressures and the strong Euroregional identity allowed for the joint action to take place, while some secondary factors facilitated it.