(Highly) mobile workers in the creative sector in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion (EMR) - How do you create a good fit?

This issue was discussed on 17 February 2022 by the ITEM Expertise Centre with representatives of the specialised advisory and border information services in the cultural sector, as well as politicians and (local) authorities of the EMR. In successful cooperation with the ZZP-fabriek, the GrenzInfoPunt Aachen-Eurode (GIP) and the cooperation Smart, an online expert meeting in the shape of a round table was organised as part of the Interreg V youRegion-project.

As a kick-off to the meeting, Dr Nina Büttgen, researcher and project coordinator at ITEM, and Helmi van Bergen, infodesk advisor at ZZP-fabriek and GIP advisor, presented the information brochure "Cross-border working as a (solo) self-employed person between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany". This brochure is intended as an orientation aid for professional advisers and in practice on the applicable (national, bilateral and European) legal provisions for cross-border entrepreneurial activities in the Belgian-German-Dutch border region. The digital Dutch version has already been published as a preview, and a German, English and French version will also be available shortly.

The first discussion round was expertly moderated by Eva van Ooij, expert by experience, legal policy advisor EU and international social security, Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) and (external) PhD candidate at ITEM/Maastricht University, who introduced and shared explanations about the Euregional border information services for creative professionals in practice. The cultural advisory service of the Zweckverband Region Aachen, the GIP advisory network and the cooperative Smart, which originates from Belgium, did not only present their teams and services. They also pointed out problems, lack of knowledge and concrete examples related to the complex issue of (highly) mobile workers in the arts and culture sector (such as A1 declarations to determine the applicable social security legislation in cross-border work situations).

The second hour of the event was dedicated to the role of policy and legislation. Rudolf Godesar, (former) representative for East Belgium at the EMR responsible for culture and chairman of the AEBR Taskforce for Cross-Border Culture (T4CBC) explained the activities of the Task Force and shared the highlights of the Euroregional Cultural Strategy for the next 10 years. The advisor for culture and heritage in the cabinet of Minister Isabelle Weykmans, Minister for Culture and Sport, Employment and Media, Government of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, Jörg Zimmermann, pointed to existing Euroregional networks of culture professionals such as the CHE network (Creative Hub Euregio), emphasising once again the current lack of structured cross-regional networks with expert advisory bodies. He also critically reviewed some legal policy initiatives (such as the desired abolition of the withholding tax paragraph in the OECD Model Convention on Double Taxation).

Finally, there was a broad discussion. The other invited experts from both border information points (BIPs) of the Euregion, and representatives from the Province of Limburg (NL), as well as from the extensive touring artists information platform (including helpdesk) and the Flemish cultuurloket, both members of the European On the Move network, had their say. The expectations of the participants seemed to be fulfilled in terms of getting to know each other, exchanging information and exploring the need for a formal network. What is more, the vast majority spoke out in favour of the need for structural cooperation and networking - a signal that was explicitly welcomed by EMR director Michael Dejozé with the invitation to set up such a Euroregional network with the support of the EMR.


The youRegion project is co-financed by the European Union's Interreg V-A Euregio Meuse-Rhine programme, which is based on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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