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Driving the EU's Danube Strategy Forward

(28-10-2013)

Driving the EU's Danube Strategy Forward

In his speech during the 2nd Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region on 28 October 2013, Commissioner Hahn highlighted the success of the Strategy. "I said we are celebrating a success. Our report published earlier this year showed that the Strategy is bringing results. 400 projects have already been channeled through the Priority Area Co-ordinators, worth 49 billion euro."

The 14 countries from Europe's Danube "macro region" are participating for this year's Danube Forum in Bucharest on 28 - 29 October. Hosted by EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the Forum discusses how to strengthen the impact of the EU's Danube Strategy to tackle some of the region's most pressing challenges like energy security and pollution, crime, missing transport links to lack of competitiveness and the brain drain. Foreign and Regional Development Ministers join Commissioner Hahn to take stock of current achievements and challenges, assess progress to date and reflect on the future implementation of the Danube Strategy.

The meeting comes after the recent endorsement by EU Member States of the European Commission's evaluation report on the added value of the macro-regional strategies. This report delivered a positive verdict on the macro-regional approach: highlighting its hundreds of new projects, joint initiatives and important networks which bring together EU and non EU countries alike to solve common problems. But the report also reminded governments of the need for more political commitment and leadership and to make the strategy a priority across all relevant policy areas.

"What I do know, is that the heart of the issue is commitment. Commitment means active participation, following up the agreed targets and translating common strategic objectives into action. It means the active involvement of all members of the strategy, and of all parts of their governments. Above all it means travelling as drivers not as passengers. The Commission can help you maintain the vehicle – but you have to be at the front of the bus steering. This means of course the Priority Area Coordinators and the National Contact Points, who are doing excellent work.  But it means that their political leaders, too, need to stay fully engaged in deciding the way forward." said Commissioner Hahn. 

Read the full speech