On 18 November 2022, the ITEM Annual Conference took place in Groningen. The Conference focused on the future of border regions in Europe, given the many challenges at play. Themes as the energy transition, health, safety and wellbeing need a specific approach in cross-border regions. During the conference, the message emerged that structural cooperation and coordination is needed. This requires intensive contact with neighbouring countries.
"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.", Prof Dr Anouk Bollen-Vandenboorn, director of ITEM, summed up the main message. "For this, governance structures, instruments and cross-border projects are needed."
During the ITEM Annual Conference, cross-border projects - such as cross-border energy projects -, themes - such as safety and the European Health Data Space - and instruments were discussed. Regarding governance structures, the Conference followed up on the recent advise of the Dutch-Flemish administrative working group on border obstacles and the implementation thereof. "You need a strong mandate.", was one of the best-practices learned from the Freedom of Movement Council of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Watch and read back
The full recap of the Annual Conference, with all presentations, press release, a video summary and the full recording, is available on: https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/events/item-annual-conference-2022-recap
How do you solve border obstacles?
The ITEM Reflection on the advise of the administrative working group on border obstacles, as well as a brief summary thereof, is available here (in English). In this Reflection, also comparisons and best-practices of the Nordic Council and the Treaty of Aachen are discussed.
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