On 14 June 2023 the B-Solutions workshop, organized by ITEM, GIP Aachen/Eurode and AEBR, in cooperation with the Benelux Union took place in the context of a B-Solutions project funded by DG REGIO. With a focus on the border regions between Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, the workshop explored solutions on the issue of teleworking, cross-border working, taxation and social insurance issues, explored how these can be resolved within emerging frameworks at EU and Member State Levels, and discussed the role of key organisations in implementing the recommendations of this B-Solutions case.
In attendance were the Secretariat-General of the Benelux Union, researchers, experts from ministries and border regions in Benelux and Germany, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the Benelux Parliament. There was room for both general presentations, giving an overview of recent developments, and more concrete exchanges through panel discussions.
A complicating factor is that there is coordination of social security (Regulation 883/2004); when it comes to taxation, there is no European coordination regulation, but bilateral tax treaties are in place. As regards social security, a solution has been found in the form of the Framework Agreement considered a best practice how member states can cooperate across borders. Although it is a European issue, member states have solved it jointly on a temporary basis (in anticipation of structural embedding in the Regulation). A structural solution – for instance, amending the Regulation 883/2004 – is still to be awaited. While efforts are being made at EU and OECD level to arrive at more general solutions so that border workers can work in best conditions from home without negative consequences, there are also specific legal/political instruments at Benelux level to reach a solution. The mantra resonating during the workshop was therefore to strive for a similar harmonized framework for taxation, possibly first within the Benelux and subsequently on a European level. Moreover, during the workshop, among all speakers there was a strong appeal for drawing up uniform definitions when it comes to ‘teleworking/working from home’, since practice has shown that existing definitions still deviate heavily.
A short report with the most important points and conclusions can be found here: