Why cross-border labour market cooperation makes a difference?:

Special Open Days event took place in Brussels


On 9 October 2012 an event dealing with the subject: “Cross-border labour market – A challenge that makes a difference” took place in Brussels within the Open Days. The event was organised by the Spanish region of Extremadura in cooperation with the regions Alentejo from Portugal, Värmland from Sweden, Hedmark from Norway, the Swedish-Danish Öresund Region, the Olomouc region from the Czech Republic and the Opolskie region from Poland as well as the East Border Region from Ireland / Northern Ireland and the city of Varna from Bulgaria. More than 80 participants came to the Portuguese Representation in Brussels in order to discuss the opportunities and challenges of labour markets in border areas.

The possibility to work or employ personnel across borders opens new opportunities for employees and employers that benefit in manifold ways from the know-how and experiences of the neighbours on the other side of the border. Fore example, taking into account the demographic change and its expected negative impact on national labour markets, cross-border cooperation can help to develop new regional strategies corresponding with the development trends of whole cross-border areas, not ending just at the border.

Even if cross-border labour markets offer many additional opportunities, the number of cross-border commuters (Pendler, navetteurs transfrontaliers) could still be higher. Due to missing reliable information on the consequences of getting a job at the other side of the border, in many cases citizens in border areas do not take into account searching for a job in the neighbouring country. They fear that they would not have the same rights as at home, being the bureaucratic burden much higher.

In many border areas particular cross-border networks and partnerships have been initiated to bring together all relevant stakeholders from both sides of the border in order to propose adequate solutions to mobility obstacles (eg. EURES T-networks or specific networks in euroregions dealing with cross-border labour market mobility). An important task of these cross-border networks and partnerships is also to provide all relevant information to employees and employers in border areas as regards working conditions, social security and taxation rules as well as job offers in the neighbouring country. This information can hardly be provided in a standardised form via internet, as the problems faced by frontier workers are very individual and constantly changing. Personalised advisory services are, accordingly, of particular importance for current and future frontier workers. The event in Brussels provided a very good opportunity to underline the importance of information and advisory services for frontier workers in European border regions and to exchange experiences.

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