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Develop a successful business with my neighbour country

Advised entity: Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Xanthi

When Bulgarian or Greek small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) want to enter the neighbouring market along their shared border, they face difficulties because of administrative and legal hurdles, lack of knowledge on the neighbour’s business environment and language barriers. This limits the development of a strong cross-border labour market benefiting workers, SMEs and the overall population of the border region. 

Cross Border Internships

Advised entity: Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig, Regionskotor & Infocenter

Due to different legislative frameworks in Denmark and Germany, students and workers are limited in their opportunities to pursue internships on the other side of the border. It is problematic as cross-border internships can often lead to hiring and can thus strengthen the border region labour market.  

Student mobility

Advised entity: EUROBEC

In Portugal, the administrative guidelines for study visit abroad require children to present an authorisation signed by both parents or a legal guardian and duly certified by an official authority in order to go exit the country. The document can be issued only upon payment of a certification fee ranging from 15 to 30 Euros and has a limited duration. Such bureaucratic requirements are serious impediments to the development of cross-border cooperation projects carried out by schools and other structures involving minors.  

Youth Beyond Borders

Advised entity: EGTC Euregio Senza Confini / EVTZ Euregio Ohne Grenzen

Students who cross the border between Italy and Austria to carry out internships often face significant regulatory hurdles, such as different school systems, training courses and insurance coverage, as well as language barriers that may discourage them from participating in such dual and vocational learning opportunities across the border. This is due to a lack of coordinated administrative and legal framework between Italy and Austria when it comes to internships, traineeships and apprenticeships.

Cross border DUAL VET Euroregion Galicia Norte Portugal

Advised entity: Galicia Norte Portugal EGTC

Even though there is a lack of specialised workers in some fields, the cross-border mobility of Vocational Education Training (VET) qualified workers is limited between Galicia and the North of Portugal. It is mostly due to different procedures of recognition for non-university education, which are lengthy and costly for applicants and which raise tax credits issues for the companies on both sides of the border. 

Problem to work in both Sweden and Denmark at the same time

Advised entity: Øresunddirekt Sweden / County Administrative Board Skåne

Cross-border mobility of workers is high in the Øresundregion, with most cross-border workers living in Sweden and working in Denmark. However, the current social security systems in the two neighbouring countries create obstacles with regard to part-time jobs, because Danish businesses who employ people in Denmark who also have a job in Sweden have to pay high contributions to the Swedish government. This not only restricts the free movement of workers, but also results in some people not being able to fully support themselves.

Third country citizens excluded from the labour market in the region

Advised entity: Øresunddirekt Sweden / County Administrative Board Skåne

The free movement of workers grants EU citizens the right to live and work in different member states. However, this right is not granted equally to third-country nationals, which is particularly reflected in the Øresundregion, where there is a high level of worker mobility. In Denmark, there is a high demand for skilled workers, but for third-country nationals residing in Sweden it is extremely complicated to obtain a Danish work permit, even if they have a long-term residence permit in Sweden.

 

Mapping cross-border skills involving Employers: Building & Construction

Advised entity: Regione autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia 

Employers in the Italian-Slovenian border region, especially SMEs, encounter difficulties when trying to hire new employees from the other side of the border. There is a lack of a common methodology to compare and evaluate the skills of cross-border workers, whose professional training varies according to the academic system of their respective country. Standardising data would potentially improve the placement of workers with businesses and allow for specific training opportunities to be offered.

Mapping cross-border skills involving Employers: Mechatronics

Advised entity: Regione autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia 

Finding new employees can be difficult for SMEs if they do not have a consistent method to compare the education and skills of cross-border workers. In the Austrian-Italian region this is especially relevant in the mechanic/mechatronics sector. There is a need for standardized data to improve the matching of workers and companies.

 

Mapping cross-border workers and labour market between FVG & Carinthia 

Advised entity: Regione autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia 

Along the Italian-Austrian border many cross-border workers reside on one side and work on the other side of the border. Yet, there is no uniform legal system for the registration of workers, which not only creates obstacles for local and regional administrations with regard to social security benefits or taxation, but also facilitates the circumvention of labour protection measures.

Posting workers to Galicia: easing communication procedures

Advised entity: Galicia Norte Portugal EGTC

In order to comply with EU Directives, a Galician law requires foreign companies that post their workers to the Autonomous Community of Galicia for a limited period of time to inform the Galician authorities about this using a specific digital certificate. This creates additional costs for Portuguese companies that want to send their employees across the border, as they are often forced to hire an external agency to help them with the complex administrative procedure. The Portuguese law, on the other hand, does not require such a digital certificate, which thus leads to unequal treatment of companies located in the border region.

Working from home across Borders

Advised entity: Openbaar Lichaam Eurode

The Dutch region of South-Limburg is surrounded on three sides by Germany and Belgium, so crossing the border for work reasons is part of everyday life. When the home office became the new workplace for many during the pandemic, the national governments adopted temporary legislation regarding social security and tax issues for employees. These temporary regulations will soon expire without any interstate agreements on long-term solutions, which are urgently needed as working from home has become a generally accepted practice.

Limitations in attending a school in a neighbouring country

Advised entity: EGTC Euregio Meuse-Rhine

The Euregio Meuse-Rhine is a complex cross-border area comprising five regions in the three countries of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Actually, this particular geographical location opens up many opportunities for cooperation in the field of education. But, with regard to preschool education, national laws sometimes prevent parents from sending their children to a preschool in a neighbouring country, or at least make this more difficult, for example, through waiting lists and unbeneficial tax rules. Adapting the legal framework to allow a free choice of preschool in the border region would strengthen bilingualism and understanding of cultural differences, which in turn would promote both economic development and good coexistence in the region for the future.

Anti-cumulation of parental allowances in cross-border cases

Advised entity: Grenzinfopunkt Aachen-Eurode

For families living in the tri-border area of Germany, Belgium and France, obtaining parental social security benefits can be difficult. The anti-accumulation rule in EU law prevents parental benefits from being obtained from different countries, which causes difficulties when only one parent is working abroad because the exchange of data between the competent authorities often does not work. Also, uncertainties persist as to how the anti-accumulation rule is to be interpreted with regard to a newly introduced paid parental leave in the Netherlands. Solving these obstacles would significantly increase the attractiveness of cross-border work for young families.

Harmonised cross-border taxation in Greater Copenhagen

Advised entity: Greater Copenhagen

The Øresund agreement regulates taxation matters regarding work commutes between Denmark and Sweden since 2003. Yet, new crucial aspects of cross-border commuters are not included in the legislation. Rules regarding pension systems, taxation and reporting obligations are also not harmonised, which creates unnecessary administrative costs and increases the risk of double taxation for cross-border workers. As a result, companies are discouraged to seek for skilled workers from the cross-border region.

Internships abroad cause health insurance problems

Advised entity: Municipality of Maastricht

Due to incompatible regulations on internships between the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, Dutch students doing an internship across the border in Germany or Belgium are not covered by health insurance. Therefore, they are discouraged to look for possible internships in the neighbouring countries, reducing their future career prospects. It is also detrimental to the euregional labour market as a whole which loses attractiveness.

Cross-border employment at the Croatian-Hungarian border

Advised entity: Pannon EGTC

The national provisions of Hungary and Croatia on employment and tax law are not aligned and do not take into account specifically the cross-border context. This results in unclear and long bureaucratic procedures for employers trying to recruit nationals from the other side of the border.

Employee in another EU country primarily in home office

Advised entity: EUREGIO Salzburg - Berchtesgadener Land - Traunstein

 

The German-Austrian bilateral agreement on cross-border employment ("Grenzgängerregelung") is not applicable when an employee hired by a company on one side of the border works more than 45 days per year on the other side of the border. This limitation impacts cross-border workers who are therefore not allowed to work from home. The absence of a clear regulation on home office makes it very costly and complex for companies to understand which tax and social security system should apply to their cross-border employees. As a result, it reduces the opportunities to recruit across the border, especially in fields in which home office work is widely spread.

 

Continued remuneration of the sick cross-border worker

Advised entity: Grenzinfopunkt Aachen-Eurode

In Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, different sickness benefits systems do not take into account the specific status of cross-border workers. This lack of regulation leads to uncertainties on how to apply employment law when it comes to establishing the incapacity for work, sickness payments and re-integration measures. Solving this obstacle would have a positive impact for cross-border workers and their employees.

Going beyond obstacles in yachting internship and training 

Advised entity: Province of Lucca

The project “E-JOB” – Excellence Job on board led to the creation of a training programme between France and Italy for the strengthening of on-board yachting professional profiles: chefs, stewards, engineers. However, Italian and French students are subject to different regulatory constraints for recognition of diploma and internship conditions. Bringing a solution would strengthen cooperation in the yachting sector, which is a driving economic sector for the French and Italian regions bordering the Mediterranean.

Non-recognition of incapacity and disability at work

Advised entity: CRD EURES / Frontaliers Grand Est

 

The status of incapacity and disability at work differ from a country to another. People living and working in the Grand Est border region incur in the situation in which they are recognised as disabled in their state of residence but not in the neighbouring country where they carry out a professional activity.

Ensuring a status that is equally recognised in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland would prevent cross-border workers to go through various lengthy procedures to get incapacity and disability certifications, and would give them more assurance to explore job opportunities across the border.

Deductibility of private pension contributions in Denmark

Advised entity: Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig, Regionskontor & Infocenter

The conditions to deduct private pension contributions under Danish law are difficult to meet for cross-border workers from Germany and require complex administrative procedures. The majority of cross-border commuters do not fulfil this condition in their first year of commuting, and this results in financial losses and discrimination. As a result, commuters might be deterred from taking a job in Denmark.

Applicable Labour Law for Telework

Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig, Regionskontor & Infocenter

 

The lack of clear rules on the applicable labour law regarding telework for cross-border workers has become a problem to their mobility along the Danish-German border.

Having a clear framework on the applicable rules would increase the employer’s competitiveness on the labour market and the possibilities for potential employees.

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