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Danube Region

(28 - 10 - 2013)

Danube Region

Danube Region

Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will be attending the 2nd Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube region on "Danube Region - stronger together, stronger in the world" on 28 and 29 October in Bucharest The debate his year will focus on how the Strategy is helping to tackle joint challenges and how this is having an influence in striving competitiveness.

The Danube, which is 3000 km long and crossing 14 countries, is the most international river in the world. The Danube region, where 115 million people live, covers parts of 8 EU countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania) and 6 non-EU countries (Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ukraine and Moldova) and has an enormous economic and social potential, but also several challenges to face: environmental threats (water pollution, floods, climate change), untapped shipping potential and lack of road and rail transportconnections, insufficient energy connections, uneven socio-economic development , uncoordinated education, research and innovation systems and shortcomings in safety and security.

To address their challenges, these 14 countries together with the Commission have developed in June 2011 a Strategy for the Danube Region in order to facilitate and enhance coordination and cooperation between the countries and regions.

What are the region's priorities?

The Danube Strategy has three main objectives which are set out in a detailed Action Plan with 11 priority areas:


  • "Connecting the Region":  multimodality and navigability, sustainable energy, culture and tourism, people to people.
  • "Protecting the Environment": water quality, environmental risks, biodiversity landscapes, air and soil quality.
  • "Building Prosperity": science and research, competitiveness, people and skills
  • "Strengthening the Danube Region": institutional capacity and security.

What contribution does the EU’s regional policy make?

Although the Danube Strategy does not come with extra EU finance, a considerable amount of € 100 billion EUR EU financing – also beyond the regional policy financing – was available to this macro-region for the period 2007-2013.

As regards regional policy, European Territorial Cooperation programmes with financing from the European Fund for Regional Development help to support the development of the Danube Region and strengthen cooperation between the participating countries.  During the 2007-2013 programming period, several territorial cooperation programmes supported by the EU were available to the Danube Region, among them the Central Europe programme (€ 246 million) and the South East Europe programme (€ 206 million) and  cross-border programmes.

Project examples

Empowering Young People – Connecting Europe supports innovative school-based projects and promotes dialogue between cultures, active citizenship and commitment to sustainable development. By involving external partners (NGOs, private companies, cultural institutions/artists, teacher training institutions), the aim of this project is to implement innovative training courses and international, creative, educational programmes. Since July 2012, 16 schools in the Danube Region (Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Germany (South), Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine (Western Part)) have been working together.

The Danube Shipwreck Removal project aims to remove shipwrecks from the Danube, Sava and Tisa in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria - improving navigation and ecological conditions.

The Danube Region Business Forum provides an important networking platform for over 300 SMEs. It encourages business-to-business meetings, and supports links with knowledge providers such as research institutes and universities.

Danube River Forum (DARIF)

The project for the establishment of the Danube River Forum structures aims at forming a cooperative platform in order to strengthen the collaboration between the Member States of the Danube Region in the field of criminal investigation and through this fasten the exchange of information aiming at criminal investigation. The setting up of the Danube River Forum has developed a new form of cooperation that facilitates for the Danube Region’s member states discussion in relation with the river transport security of Danube. The involved member states recognise each other’s problems, expectations, and to work out common strategies to enhance security that improves the effectiveness of cooperation concentrated not only at the parts of the Danube but at the whole line of the Danube.

The Danube Flood risk project promotes cooperation methods with 19 institutions in 8 Danube countries, sharing databases and flood mapping. The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) is carrying out complementary work.

Further information

2nd Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, Bucharest

Evaluation Report concerning the added value of macro-regional strategies

1st report on the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region

EU Strategy for the Danube Region

Danube Region

European Territorial Cooperation