EU cross-border ambition: 1 million jobs


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Today is the first time the Conference “Vibrant cross-border labour markets” takes place. This event is the result of DG REGIO’s Cross-border reviewin 2015 which led to the Commission’s Communication “Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions” followed by the report “EU Border Regions: Living labs of European Integration” in 2021 on the gained knowledge and on the areas where action is needed.

Action is indeed necessary as different challenges arise in multiple areas of frontier-workers their lives.

Living in one country and having a job just across the border, implies different challenges like linkages of social security systems and with the new reality of recurring teleworking it poses furthermore new issues to social security access as the exact location of the job becomes less defined. Access to the labour market (e.g. finding vacancies) poses specific questions in cross-border markets.

In communities with strong cross-border ties, different opportunities and challenges, appear in education, due to their cross-border potential that have a clear impact on local labour markets. Today education in these areas is often rigid and ineffective as it’s designed from a national perspective which rules out synergies. The labour markets in cross-border communities could however greatly benefit from collaboration in the form of joint education.

Employees and employers encounter difficulties with their taxation when work is conducted on both sides of a border (e.g. people having two jobs, regularly teleworking, companies with activities on both sides). Lack of clarity and an abundance of administrative procedures lead to situations of unfair taxation and increased red tape. Karl-Heinz Lambertz (former president of the European Committee of the Regions and current President of the Parliament of the German-speaking Community of Belgium), will in this light be discussing his report Fair distribution of taxes in transfrontier areas during the Conference.

Additionally, The Fair Taxation Package will be examined during a panel discussion. This is an array of proposals, suited and geared towards a local approach to allow citizens to have access to wider job opportunities, to let individuals live in the territories they call home, to resolve taxation imbalances and to answer challenges faced by cross border workers.

Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms confirms the importance of the cross-border labour markets ambitions: “Since the coronavirus outbreak and the current crisis, we have become even more aware of the importance of the European borders. We need a closer cooperation among border regions to tackle the challenges and remove the obstacles. The European Commission is committed to working hand-in-hand with border regions to fulfill its enormous potential and make sure no-one is left behind.”

Key speakers will be tackling the different challenges in practically-oriented sessions. Karl-Heinz Lambertz will be discussing the report Fair distribution of taxes in transfrontier areas, Tue David Bak, Managing Director of Greater Copenhagen, will be presenting the Scandinavian case and the local solutions to obstacles, and Christian Dupessey, President of the Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT), will dive into the implications of taxes in a border area from a regional perspective. The closing of the conference will be in attendance of European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit (tbc).

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