• Meuse-Rhine Gazette

High demand for information on border crossings in EMR

The Grensinfopunten – GIP (Cross-Border Information Points) in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine have received 65% more information requests from border workers in recent months than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Euregio Meuse-Rhine online questionnaire with up-to-date answers on cross-border traffic has been visited 80,000 times since its launch at the beginning of November. The GIP website has also been visited ten times more often than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Euregio Meuse-Rhine (EMR), these figures clearly show that there is a great need for information on cross-border traffic in the border area of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

"If you see how the need for information has been exploding for a few months now, that is reason for us to look at how we can contribute even more to harmonising measures against the pandemic in the three border regions. We are pleased that this service can be offered in the EMR. We also see the great efforts of the authorities in the provinces and in North Rhine-Westphalia to make everything as smooth and simple as possible in the border area, taking into account the national measures."

Michael Dejozé, Euregio Meuse-Rhine Director

This was also the basis for the development of the "Crossing Borders" online questionnaire, which has been providing information in NL, DE and FR on cross-border traffic to residents throughout the EMR since the beginning of November. The form can be found via this link and a version in English will be released soon.

Information exchange in crisis management

Regarding cross-border assistance in crisis management during this pandemic, EMRIC (Euregio Meuse-Rhine Incident and Crisis Management) is the link between the crisis teams in the three countries. EMRIC provides information on the situation and measures in the neighbouring country.

Within this partnership, which also includes hospitals in the EMR, agreements have been in place for many years on the transfer of patients in the event of a shortage of opportunities in their own country. This 'shortage' can relate to quantity (as in the crisis), but also makes good use of each other's specialisations.

To this end, the EMR-Interregproject PANDEMRIC launched a web application, in order to have a better overview of the needs. This made it possible to bring patients from the Netherlands and Belgium across the border to Germany, which has been taking place since spring of this year.

Due to its border location, laboratory capacity can also be used in the three countries. The regions in the EMR border area support each other in the purchase of PCR tests and protection equipment.