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About the Straits Committee

Believing that closer cooperation between the territories bordering the Dover Strait area and the Channel-North Sea region can create new opportunities for residents, businesses, local stakeholders and communities, six local authorities from four countries – the Département du Nord and the Département du Pas-de-Calais (France), the Province of West Flanders and the Province of East Flanders (Belgium), the Province of Zeeland (the Netherlands) and the Kent County Council (United Kingdom) – launched The Straits Committee in 2020.

The Straits Committee is a multilateral forum for dialogue, providing a flexible framework for its members to work together within the boundaries of their responsibilities, and for extending cooperation to local stakeholders such as from the voluntary sector, education or the world of business. The member authorities meet up to four times a year at the Straits Executive Committee where each authority is represented by an elected official.

Governance

For Pas-de-Calais, the Straits Committee represents the possibility for young people to encounter opportunities, for our companies to develop partnerships, and for all our territories to collectively tackle the challenge of ecological transition: we have to make the Strait our common gateway.

Mireille Hingrez-Cereda, Département du Pas-de-Calais

Kent is committed to working through the Straits Committee and advancing our shared interests for the economy, the climate, and how we support our young people and our communities.

Derek Murphy, Kent County Council
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In Zeeland we are dealing with a labour shortage, abandoned commercial buildings and a declining number of pupils at the schools. The Zeeland labour market is crying out for staff. In addition, we have to face up to global themes such as climate change. Similar problems also exist in other regions around the Strait of Dover. In the Straits Committee we exchange experiences and learn from each other. This way we can maximise opportunities. After all, together you achieve more than on your own.

Anita Pijpelink, Province of Zeeland

Photo: Mechteld Jansen

Brexit has largely contributed to awareness of the need to accelerate cross-border cooperation in the areas bordering the Dover Strait.

Jean de Bethune, Province of West-Flanders

Cooperating across the Straits’ cross-border space represents a new opportunity to take up our shared challenges for the benefit of our people and territories. 

Sylvie Labadens, Département du Nord

If you’re not big, you have to work together smartly. Even after the withdrawal of the UK, it is important to continue to maintain good economic relations with our neighbours on the other side of the Channel, together with the other partner regions in the Straits Committee. But good cooperation is also crucial in other areas. Just think of our fight against climate change and rising sea levels in the North Sea.

Riet Gillis, Province of East-Flanders