EU Strategy for the Danube Region
2nd Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (Bucharest, 28-29 October)
The 2nd Annual Forum of the EUSDR, jointly organised by the European Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, will take place in Bucharest (Romania) on 28-29 October
The title of this year's Forum will be "Danube Region - stronger together, stronger in the world" and it will encourage a debate on how the Strategy is helping to tackle joint challenges and how this is having an influence in striving competitiveness.
Visit the website of the European Commission to find out more.
Europe's Macroregional Experiment: the first Evaluation
Today the European Commission has published the first study to weigh up the success of the EU's two macro-regional strategies and to provide recommendations for the future.
The EU's Danube and Baltic Strategies, involving over 20 EU and non EU countries, have pioneered a unique kind of cooperation, based on the idea that common challenges faced by specific regions –whether environmental, economic or security related – are best tackled collectively, and that it makes sense to plan together for the most effective deployment of the funds available.
The report delivers a broadly positive verdict on the existing strategies so far. It highlights how they have created hundreds of new projects and helped to formulate joint policy objectives in areas of vital importance for the regions involved. The macroregional approach has also led to numerous joint initiatives and networks, as well as political decisions at collective level.
The report says cooperation between the participating EU countries and neighbouring non-EU countries has been significantly strengthened and that has resulted in more efficient use of the resources available.
But the report reminds governments of the need for political commitment and for making the strategies a priority across all relevant policy areas, ensuring they are embedded in future European Structural and Investment Funds programmes, as well as other relevant EU, regional and national policy frameworks. It also underlines the importance of administrative resources to deliver the objectives.
Concerning future macro-regional strategies, the report stresses that new initiatives should only be launched to address particular needs for improved and high-level cooperation. There must be readiness to translate political commitment into administrative support, and new strategies should clearly demonstrate the particular added-value at EU level.
Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - concerning the added value of macro-regional strategies
Danube Day 2013 – "Get Active for the Sturgeons"
On 29 June 2013, the 14 countries of the Danube Basin jointly celebrate one of Europe's greatest river systems and the people and wildlife that rely on it. It is the celebration of a cleaner, safer river. Huge festivals on the banks of the rivers, public meetings and fun, educational events pay tribute to the Danube rivers, its peoples and the progress that has been made.
"Get active for the sturgeons" is the motto of the Danube Day 2013. Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Rural Development has published a video message to the people of the Danube Basin on this occasion. In the video, he highlights three main issues in the struggle for sustainable sturgeon stocks in the Danube Basin: (1) the protection of habitats, for example for spawning; (2) the fight against illegal fisheries and caviar trade; (3) the re-establishment of longitudinal connectivity – the possibility for sturgeons to pass dams mostly of hydropower plants to reach spawning grounds in upstream areas. Commissioner Hahn also draws attention to the many initiatives that emerged from the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.
A strategy to boost the development of the Danube Region was proposed by the European Commission on 8 December 2010 (Commission Communication - EU Strategy for the Danube Region). Member States endorsed the EU Strategy for the Danube Region at the General Affairs Council on 13 April 2011 (Council Conclusions).
For news and information on the activities and progress of the Strategy, please visit the EUSDR's dedicated website www.danube-region.eu
What’s the issue?
The Danube region covers parts of 9 EU countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia) and 5 non-EU countries ( Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ukraine and Moldova).
- The region is facing several challenges:
- environmental threats (water pollution, floods, climate change)
- untapped shipping potential and lack of road and rail transport connections
- insufficient energy connections
- uneven socio-economic development
- uncoordinated education, research and innovation systems
- shortcomings in safety and security
Better coordination and cooperation between the countries and regions is needed to address these challenges.
Who will benefit and how?
The people living in the Danube Region will benefit from:
- faster transport by road and rail
- cleaner transport by improving the navigability of rivers
- cheaper and more secure energy thanks to better connections and alternative sources
- a better environment with cleaner water, protected biodiversity, and cross-border flood prevention
- a prosperous region, through working together on the economy, education, social inclusion, and research and innovation
- attractive tourist and cultural destinations, developed and marketed jointly
- a safer, well-governed region, thanks to better cooperation and coordination of government and non-governmental organisations
The EU has identified 11 priority areas, which will focus on improving:
- transport connections
- energy connections
- the environment
- socio-economic development
The Strategy does not come with extra EU finance but it is supported from the resources already available according to an integrated approach. Countries may also make use of the funding they receive through EU cohesion policy, other EU programmes and financial instruments, and various international financial institutions.
To know more about financial opportunities visit www.danube-region.eu/pages/funding-opportunities
Why does action have to be taken by the EU?
- Since 2007, the majority of the countries in the Danube region are EU countries.
- Many of the problems are covered by EU policy.
- As an independent player with respected authority, the EU is in a good position to facilitate cooperation.
- The EU already runs programmes in the region and so can provide opportunities for cooperation.
To get in contact with the EUSDR team in DG REGIO, please email Regiofirstname.lastname@example.org
To know more about the actors involved visit www.danube-region.eu/pages/who-is-who