ITEM and UHasselt carry out cross-border research together

The Institute for Transnational and Euregional cross-border cooperation and Mobility (ITEM) of Maastricht University (UM) and UHasselt will sign a cooperation agreement in the field of cross-border research on 8 May. The signing will be attended by the governors of the provinces of Belgian and Dutch Limburg.

The two provinces will finance the collaboration, enabling the further development of research, advice and the exchange of knowledge on cross-border mobility and cooperation. This is needed as working across borders creates obstacles in the areas of taxation and social security.

In the absence of European regulations, both active and retired employees and entrepreneurs who live and work across borders between Belgium and the Netherlands are subject to more than one legal system. These legal systems often do not take into account the specifics of living and working across borders and are also not coordinated with each other. This hinders the development of cross-border activities and raises complex legal issues.

Researchers from both universities are now joining forces and highlighting cross-border bottlenecks. They do this through joint scientific research and by presenting solutions to policymakers. They formulate recommendations in the field of taxation and social security.


The appointment of researchers Stefan Bemelmans and Hannelore Niesten on 1 January 2019 has already strengthened the collaboration between UHasselt and ITEM. The connecting role of these two intermediaries guarantees the exchange of concrete research results between the two research institutes. This takes research to a higher level. The scientific and applied research is carried out simultaneously by PhD candidate Stefan Bemelmans at Hasselt University (CORe, tax law unit) and at Maastricht University (ITEM).


Stefan Bemelmans is to carry out PhD research into "Obstacles for the cross-border administration of foreign pension schemes between the Netherlands and Belgium: a legal comparative analysis" under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Elly Van de Velde of Uhasselt and Prof. Dr. Anouk Bollen of the UM. Dr. Hannelore Niesten has been appointed as a scientific researcher at UHasselt. In July 2017, she was the first UHasselt/UM double doctorate in law to successfully defend her thesis "Tax benefits of cross-border economically active EU persons". The focus of her research is on identifying the causes of problems and providing solutions.


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