The Interreg EMR project, ‘The impact of COVID-19 on the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion’ (referred to as project euPrevent COVID-19), held its final conference on Thursday 16 December 2021.
Project euPrevent COVID-19 aims to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the population in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion (EMR), being those living in the border regions of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Results from both project elements were presented and discussed: the main experiences from the Citizen Summits that were held in 7 EMR cities and the outcomes from the survey plus serological study. The Citizen Summits have illustrated the need for gathering qualitative data in the region to inquiry about the people undergoing the measures. The survey data enabled to form conclusions on the bigger picture. The findings of the project pointed out that people adapted their behaviour to the national measures tackling COVID-19; the results of the three EMR countries showed a lot of similarities, despite some differences. COVID-19 has (had) an enormous impact on the daily lives of people everywhere, however in cross-border regions extra issues can arise. This demonstrates the importance of Euregional collaboration, especially in times of global crisis.
In addition to the euPrevent COVID-19 project, other interesting projects on COVID-19 were also presented. These include projects carried out nationally, e.g. COVIMPACT study carried out in Belgium on long COVID and corona research carried out in the population in North and South Limburg of the Netherlands. The COVID-19 surveillance in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany was presented as an example of good practice. Beyond the national and Euregional perspective, Mrs. Bettina Mennen from the WHO shared the European perspective on lessons we could learn from the pandemic.