In recent years, the GrenzInfoPunkts (GIPs, Border Information Points) have intensified their cooperation along the German-Dutch-Belgian border. By joining forces, they can make their information and education work on the highly complex topics of tax and social security in cross-border living and working accessible to a wider audience and ensure the quality of the information.
One of the main funders making this cooperation possible is the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW). On 7 November 2023, a delegation of staff from the ministry came to Maastricht for a working visit. Here, the three GrenzInfoPunkts Aachen-Eurode, Maastricht and Rhine-Maas-North were able to present their work – and that of the entire GIP network – to date and discuss future developments and ideas with the ministry. Hans Dassen, Maastricht municipality and chairman of the GIP steering committee, and Kees Mertens, Social Insurance Bank, were also present to welcome the guests.
During the discussions, it quickly became clear that it will remain essential to analyse and assess the individual situations of companies and border commuters in order to provide all customers with the right information. The tax and social security situation is “so complex that help seekers are often unable to process the huge amount of important information”, as was mentioned several times in the day’s evaluation. Especially during initial telephone conversations with clients, it is often difficult to convey this complexity.
The guests also discovered this in a role-play: “I only have a small question” often leads to a lot of advice in practice. At first, customers don’t even realise what to look out for. It also became clear that the expansion of digital services, which the GIPs are all pursuing, is essential to efficiently handle the ever-increasing number of advice calls and the effort required for information and education work.
After a long day in the halls of Maastricht City Hall, the guests left with a large bundle of information in their luggage, which will help them better appreciate the working methods and, not least, the importance of the GrenzInfoPunkts.