• Meuse-Rhine Gazette

Schools reopening means closer cross-border cooperation in EMR

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Last week, the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Armin Laschet (CDU), announced that schools in NRW would be reopened for lessons so that pupils could prepare for final exams.

This is to take place next week, requiring practical solutions for teachers, pupils and their parents who are resident in Belgium and the Netherlands. Thanks to the close and trustful cooperation of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine, the German-speaking Community, the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia, the District Government of Cologne and the City Region of Aachen, an exemption for border crossing as well as a certificate system for border control will be initiated.

"Border controls counter our way of life as residents of the border region. It is therefore important to find pragmatic solutions to the concrete problems of everyday life together."

Michael Dejozé, Managing Director of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine. The German National Crisis Centre has approved the application by Prime Minister Paasch (ProDG) to have school attendance included as an "essential reason" for crossing the border. At the same time, the State Chancellery and the German educational institutions have established a system of certificates that schools can issue to teachers and students.

Since many pupils still have to collect these certificates from their school, Belgian police services agreed to recognise their school ID card as proof of the essential reason for crossing the border in the first few days of the transition. As public transport in Belgium only allows a limited number of passengers, some pupils will have to be brought to school by car. Parents and caregivers will be permitted to cross the border to bring and collect pupils.