On 14 and 15 December 2023, the GrenzNetz met to discuss and compare the situation of cross-border commuters at various German national borders and to develop possible solutions. This time, the meeting took place in the imperial city of Aachen. In a Christmassy setting, but not without the necessary seriousness, the participants were able to discuss and compare their mostly legal problems.
Germany is a country with many neighbours – and therefore with many different regulations and agreements in the areas of tax and social security. Without the public advice and information centres, a functioning cross-border labour market would hardly be conceivable. This would put the border regions at a massive disadvantage in the national (and international) competition for skilled workers and labour and would therefore have disastrous consequences for the local economy. Citizens and companies that live and work across borders are still regularly confronted with very complex challenges that are not easy to answer – or are simply not clearly regulated.
This is where the advice and information centres for cross-border commuters along the western German borders from Denmark to Switzerland can help. They have joined forces to form the GrenzNetz. This forum meets twice a year and discusses current cases and acute problems. At their meeting in Aachen, current problems included topics such as regulations for working from home or teleworking in neighbouring countries, problems with family insurance caused by mini-jobs and unresolved issues relating to caring for relatives across borders. Areas such as the still problematic recognition of foreign professional and educational qualifications were also discussed in a very topical and nationally relevant manner.
The information and advice centres are also one of the keys to finding solutions: They reflect daily experiences to decision-makers and thus ensure that recurring problems at the cross-border labour market level can be resolved quickly and sustainably.
The fruitful cooperation of this network will be continued and stabilised in the future. The members agree that both cross-border and national communication between the advice centres is essential in order to remove barriers and obstacles to mobility and to bring Europe even closer together at this level.
In addition to the Border InfoPoints Aachen-Eurode (for the Euregio Meuse-Rhine), the Euregio Rhine-Meuse-North and the EUREGIO (Gronau-Enschede), the partners of the Border Network also include the Sønderjylland-Schleswig region, the German-French-Swiss Upper Rhine Conference from the tri-national metropolitan region of the Upper Rhine (represented by the INFOBEST network) and the Border Crossers 2.0 Task Force of the Greater Region, which includes France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany.