19 Nov
10:00 - 16:00

ITEM Annual Conference 2021: Empowering border regions - more than ever?

<span style="color:#ef4c22"><center>“Lessons learned, opportunities and challenges of cross-border cooperation"</center></span>

The Corona pandemic has shown that attention to tackling obstacles is achieved not only by streamlining regulations, but also by recognizing a border identity. A joint strategy of the stakeholders involved and working together with partners on both sides of the border, each from their own background (practice, knowledge, governance), appears to be necessary to establish relevant casuistry, a shared and concrete agenda and a structural approach.

The ITEM Annual Conference 2021 discussed how border regions and Euroregions can play a role in this and which instruments can be used for this, with a substantive focus on the ‘new way’ of working (working from home) after COVID-19 and major developments in cross-border security and care.  

The ITEM Annual Conference 2021 was hosted by the Province of Zeeland, and was broadcasted from the provincial building of Zeeland, 'De Abdij', in Middelburg.



Prof. Dr. Anouk Bollen-Vandenboorn Drs. Han Polman
Director ITEM King’s Commissioner for the Province of Zeeland

<a name="Video" id="Video"></a><span class="icon-youtube-play">Watch the Recap</span>

<a name="Programme" id="Programme"></a>Programme


  • Simone van Trier
  • Sander Kleikers 
10.00  Welcome  
10.00 - 10.45 "Not what divides us, but what unites us"

Han Polman, King’s Commissioner in the province Zeeland
Prof. dr. Anouk Bollen-Vandenboorn, Director ITEM

Piet Hein Donner, Minister of State, Member of the Administrative Working Group on Border Barriers

 Panel discussion:
Filip D'havé, General Representative of the Flemish Government in the Netherlands
Arthur van Dijk, King’s Commissioner in the province Noord-Holland, Chairman of the House of the Dutch Provinces (HNP - Brussels)
Daan Schalck, CEO North Sea Port
10.45 - 12.30 Europe and experiences at the border  
10.45 - 11.15

 The borders are back: effects and challenges for border regions. The methodology in focus
Rainer Steffens, Project Coordinator Network of Regional Hubs for EU policy European Committee of the Regions
Nathalie Verschelde, Deputy head unit Interreg, DG Regio European Commission
Martin Unfried, Senior Researcher and 'Ontgrenzer', ITEM

11.15 - 11.45 Break and networking online participants  
11.45 - 12.30  Role of Euregions in times of crisis: need for multilevel governance?
Maike Hajjoubi, Director Euregio Rhine Meuse North
Martin Unfried, Senior Researcher and 'Ontgrenzer', ITEM
Ronald de Back, Coordinator Werkservicepunt Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (WSP)
Mart van Damme, Regional Connector of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations

12.30 - 13.00
 “A platform for cross-border cooperation: usefulness and necessity?”
Caroline de Gruyter, Europe correspondent and columnist for NRC Handelsblad, looks back on Corona and the situation in border areas.
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch  
14.00 - 14.30 ITEM Cross-border Impact Assessment 2021
ITEM Cross-border Impact Assessment 2021 at a glance

 ITEM Cross-border impact dossier “Future working from home” highlighted
Prof. dr. Marjon Weerepas, ITEM
Steven Matheï, Member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives in Brussels and Mayor of Peer
Evelien de Jong, Cross Border Commuter Expertise Center / EY
Cyriel Heuts, Programme leader 'Future of Working@UM', Maastricht University
14.30 - 15.20 Major developments Cross-border safety and care
 Cross-border cooperation between hospitals UZ Gent and ZorgSaam Terneuzen
René Smit, CEO Zorgsaam Terneuzen
Prof. dr. Frank Vermassen, Chief Physician UZ Gent

 Reinforced role of the Region Mayor in the security triangle

Mayor Erik van Merrienboer of Terneuzen, chairman of the Zeeland Security Region
Mayor Annemarie Penn te Strake of Maastricht, chairman of the South Limburg Security Region
15.20 - 15.35 Building the foundation for Cross-Border Cooperation
 Raymond Knops, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations - video message

 Benelux experimental garden testing ground for Europe
Frans Weekers, Deputy Secretary-General of the Benelux Union
15.35 - 15.45  Closing with ITEM Board Prof. dr. Jan Smits and ITEM director Prof. dr. Anouk Bollen-Vandenboorn