18 Nov
09:30 - 17:00

ITEM Annual Conference 2022 - Recap


The future of border regions in Europe “Impact on safety, health and energy supply for border residents”

The ITEM annual conference in Groningen focused on the impact of border regions on security, health and energy supply for residents of Europe's internal borders. Current social developments in the fields of energy, health and safety still show that, in order to tackle barriers and work together with partners on both sides of the border, it is important to arrive at the right casuistry, a joint concrete agenda and a structural approach. The current energy challenge and the cross-border aspects involved require stronger intergovernmental governance (multilevel governance).

During the ITEM Annual Conference 2022, the message emerged that structural cooperation and coordination are needed. This requires intensive contact with neighbouring countries. "For this, governance structures, instruments and cross-border projects are needed.", Prof Dr Anouk Bollen-Vandenboorn, director of ITEM, summed up. Only then can any barriers through measures be minimised for those living and working in border regions.

Province of Groningen hosted the ITEM Annual Conference 2022, which was broadcast live from the Statenzaal of the Provinciehuis in Groningen.


Watch the recap

Cross-border structures and integration essential for the future of border regions


"It is vital to move from networks to cross-border structures. In addition to vertical integration from the EU, we need to work together on horizontal integration as a structure that connects neighbouring countries to put border obstacles and opportunities on the agenda, analyse them and come to common future perspectives." It was how Prof Dr Anouk Bollen-Vandenboorn summed up the main message. The ITEM Annual Conference 2022 in Groningen focused on the future of border regions in Europe, given the many challenges at play. During the ITEM Annual Conference in Groningen, experiences were exchanged to support security, healthcare and energy supply in border regions. "For this, governance structures, instruments and cross-border projects are needed."

 Read the press release here


Prospects for cross border cooperation in Europe

Law_ITEM_jaarcongres 2022_beck2.png

Horizontal integration between regions alongside vertical integration from the EU, that was a recurring phenomenon during the Annual Conference. Prof. Dr. Joachim Beck has done a lot of research on cross-border governance and horizontal integration in the EU. In his presentation, he highlighted several findings from his latest studies. Border regions, it is about where 1/3 of the European population lives and represents 40% of the European area. "Cross-border cooperation is underestimated in the European debate, although it is very important," Prof Joachim Beck noted, however. 

 Read the presentation of prof. dr. Joachim Beck


Moderators: Ms. Simone van Trier and Mr. Sander Kleikers  Side-kick: Mr. Pim Mertens

09.00-09.30                      Arrival and registration

Mr. René Paas, Kings’s commissioner in the Province of Groningen
Prof. dr. Anouk Bollen-Vandenboorn, Director ITEM
Video message:
Experiences Nordic Council in video message from Vibeke Hammer Madsen, chair of the Freedom of Movement Council, Nordic Council
Panel discussion:
Mr. René Paas, King’s commissioner in the Province of Groningen
Mr. Han Polman, King’s commissioner in the Province of Zeeland
Mr. Andries Heidema, King’s commissioner in the Province of Overijssel


Importance of good cooperation across borders: accelerating European energy transition?
Mr. Arthur van Dijk, King’s commissioner in the Province of Noord-Holland, Chairman House of Dutch Provinces in Brussels
Mr. Ronald van Roeden, Dutch Ambassador to Germany
Dr. Cyrill Jean Nunn, German Ambassador to the Netherlands
Mr. Petri Suopanki, Senior advisor at the Nordic Council of Ministers


Energy transition in balance with living environment
Video message:
Ms. Stientje van Veldhoven, Vice President of Europe of the World Resources Institute
Panel discussion:
Mr. Martin Unfried, Senior researcher ITEM
Dr. Lea Diestelmeier, University of Groningen / INTERREG SEREH
Dr. Elles Bulder, Lecturer Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen

11.15-11.45 Break

Learning and growing together: the inhabitants of the border region in the picture
Mr. Peter Schuurman, Consul general in Germany
Prof. Dr. Joachim Beck, Rector Hochschule Kehl
Mr. Karel Groen, Director Ems Dollard Region
Dr. Math Noortmann, Senior researcher ITEM


Outside in” Caroline de Gruyter, Journalist NRC Handelsblad

12.45-14.00 Lunch

In picture” ITEM pitches on ITEM Cross-Border Impact Assessment 2022
An overview this years’ dossiers in video messages by ITEM researchers


Cross-quality border effects methodology in importance of cross-border cooperation
Mr. Martin Unfried, Senior researcher ITEM


ITEM Cross-border Impact Assessment dossier highlighted: European Health Data Space (EHDS) – What does this mean for collaboration in border areas?
Ms. Susanne Sivonen, Researcher ITEM
Prof. Dr. Lisette van Gemert-Pijnen, University of Twente
Dr. Adriana Perez Fortis, University of Groningen
Prof. Dr. Jochen Mierau, Professor of Economics of Public Health & Scientific Director UGBS


Closing with Melissa van Hoorn, Deputy Province Groningen, and Prof. dr. Anouk Bollen-Vandenboorn, ITEM director
Followed by networking drinks for physical attendees