North Sea Port to act as linchpin in pioneering study of cross-border cooperation

Flanders and the Netherlands intend to conduct a study within North Sea Port, aimed at the potential improvement of their cross-border cooperation. To that end, on Wednesday 8 May, Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois and Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops launched an innovative project.

This project is aimed at finding ways to better coordinate permits, procedures and regulation and will consist of two parts. On the one hand, a research team will attempt to find solutions for contradictory legislation. This will involve exploring how planning and permitting regulations may be mutually adjusted in order to allow cross-border infrastructure projects to proceed more quickly.

On the other hand, the project will also seek to identify concrete cross-border bottlenecks within North Sea Port. The idea is that bespoke solutions here will result in improvements to cross-border infrastructure and facilitate labour across national borders.

Modal shift

For North Sea Port, this initiative offers opportunities with regard to entrepreneurship, the transport of ships’ waste, CO2 transport and cross-border employment. What's more, the elimination of cross-border obstacles will make it possible to further develop the modal shift within North Sea Port. It will then become easier to transport goods via shipping, rail or pipeline.

Opportunity for North Sea Port

North Sea Port CEO Jan Lagasse: “We intend to take full advantage of this opportunity for North Sea Port and the businesses in the cross-border port area to mitigate existing obstacles to cross-border cooperation.”

The results of the study are expected to be released by summer 2020. The bespoke solutions delivered by this project are intended to serve as an inspiration for tackling these and other bottlenecks along the entire length of the Flemish-Dutch border.

Unique in Europe

This project is the first of its kind in Europe and is a result of the Flemish-Dutch summit held in Middelburg on 5 November 2018. At the summit, Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois met with both Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte and the Dutch State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Raymond Knops, in order to strengthen the partnership between their countries with regard to cross-border cooperation. This project is also in keeping with the European Commission's plan and ambition to promote growth and cohesion in border regions and will therefore contribute to the further enhancement of the internal market.

Published on Thu 9 May 2019