ITEM Annual Conference 2017
‘Fresh momentum for cross-border cooperation’
So many countries, so many citizens, so many people living in border regions; cooperation is inevitable within Europe. Cooperation across political borders, cooperation to improve administrative borders, finding one another….
After the French elections, there are positive signals of new political initiatives in Brussels that could strengthen the European Union. Meaning that the year 2017 despite Brexit, might not be the year of ongoing political disturbances but of further consolidation and progress. This would be good news. Especially for border regions that depend heavily on open borders, a stable internal market and free movement of citizens.
Let us summarize some positive trends:
- The European Commission presented a roadmap to abolish present obstacles for cross-border mobility.
- The Dutch government has just launched an action plan to strengthen cross-border economic activities and a cross-border labour market.
- The Benelux is tackling border obstacles, among others, in the area of the transferability of qualifications (in the context of a group of experts).
- The Euregions at the German/Dutch/Belgian borders have established new cross-border information points, and
- The public employment authorities found some interesting new solutions for cross-border employment.
This offers many interesting aspects for ITEM’s third annual conference that year was held in Düsseldorf.
The City of Düsseldorf is a case in point: Member of two German-Dutch Euregions, home of many citizens from the entire EU and other regions of the world. The city of Düsseldorf is heavily dependent on open borders and a good cooperation with its neighbours. This year’s conference programme discussed the very concrete policy proposals put forward by the EU and national actors, the present developments in the Euregion’s and the needs to be able to transform innovative approaches into stable structural cross-border institutions.