Thousands of unemployed Dutch people living close to the border could find a job in Germany if the national government made fiscal and legal rules more flexible, local officials say.
Unemployment is high in the border area – sometimes twice as high as the national average – while Germany has a shortage of workers, news website nu.nl reports.
However, differences in laws, wages and social security mean the Dutch do not apply for jobs across the border. In addition, many Dutch people do not speak German.
Now, members of the Drenthe provincial council, four local councils in Drenthe and Overijssel and the German Emsland council have drawn up a joint employment plan to encourage change.
The plan includes setting up a network with German companies, language courses, a help desk and the exchange of information about vacancies.
The province and the councils hope the plan will help 400 unemployed into work in Germany, but they say in practice they are up against ‘a glass wall’, with the differences between the two countries leading to problems with state pensions, mortgage tax relief and insurance policies.
The councillors say it is strange to look to The Hague and Amsterdam for help in finding jobs but not across the nearby border. ‘The jobs market does not stop at the border,’ Drenthe councillor Ard van der Tuuk told website nu.nl.
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