EU Strategy for the Danube Region

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    The Commission adopted a new cross-border cooperation programme for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro worth around €67 million, with €57 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.

    The programme aims to improve the quality of common public services in the region, to promote the development of sustainable tourism activities and to boost the competitiveness of local businesses.      

    The programme will also help reach the objectives of the South East Europe 2020 Strategy, of the EU macro-regional Strategy for the Danube Region and of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region.   

    The five main priorities of the programme are:

    1. Improving the quality of services in public health and social care in the programme area.
    2. Protecting the environment, improving risk prevention and promoting energy efficiency.
    3. Contributing to the development of tourism and to the preservation of the region's cultural and natural heritage.
    4. Enhancing the economic competitiveness of the region
    5. Providing technical assistance to increase the efficiency of the management and implementation of the Programme.

    More information:

    Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu is joining today high-level representatives from the 14 countries (nine EU Member States,  five non-EU countries) participating in the EU Danube Macro-Region, to take stock of the progress achieved and decide how to drive the region forward. The debate will focus on all relevant aspects for a smart, social and sustainable growth in the Danube Region: training and entrepreneurship; innovation in key sectors such as energy, tourism, environment and security; and the challenges of multi-level governance.  

    Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "I  am glad to be in Ulm today for the 4th Annual Forum of the Danube Strategy. We clearly see that four years after its launch, the Strategy is bringing tangible results. We can be proud of what we have built. However, we must not stop there: there is a need to renew the political commitment and ownership to move from words to actions in order to further address common challenges in transport, energy, security and of course, growth and job creations."

    The Danube countries' Ministers in charge of EU Funds will be meeting alongside the Forum together with Commissioner Creţu. They will adopt a Joint Statement
    indicating their political commitment to align available funds with the Strategy, in particular the European Structural and Investment Funds, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and the European Neighbourhood Instrument.

    Examples of actions and projects under the Danube Region:

    • Transport: the Fairway Rehabilitation and Maintenance Master Plan for the Danube and its navigable tributaries was endorsed last year by the Ministers of Transport;
    • Energy: the projects on biomass, geothermal and reverse gas will help making the Danube Region more independent on external energy sources and more competitive on the world market.       
    • Research: the Danube Region Research and Innovation Fund will help making research needs in the Danube Region clearer so that resources are conveyed where it makes sense to do so.     
    • Social sector: Local projects and initiatives dealing with Roma integration are being developed, benefitting from a transnational perspective and cross-sectoral approach. 
    • Security: common work on the fight against corruption, cyber and property crime and on administrative barriers for navigation.
    • Environment: the development of an operative flood management and cooperation programme following the latest extreme floods in the Danube.  
    • Institutional capacity: the START-Danube Region Project Fund is a pilot initiative that provides small grants for development and implementation of Danube Region projects in the form of Seed money

    Further information

    EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu will be joining high rank politicians and stakeholders from the 14 Danube Region countries in Ulm on 29/30 October 2015, on the occasion of the 4th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, jointly organised by the European Commission, the State of Baden-Württemberg and the City of Ulm.

    With the overall title "Smart, social, sustainable – Innovation for the Danube Region", this year's Forum will focus on innovation, professional training, labour mobility and migration, competitiveness and entrepreneurship, as well as the role of civil society in the Strategy.  During four thematic sessions and more than 30 workshops and panel discussions, it will explore the key factors for a sustainable and inclusive growth of the Danube region and thus invites participants to actively exchange their experience in strategic approaches and topical developments for this region.

    A draft agenda, as well as practical information and the link to register might be found here:

    More information:

    European Union Strategy for the Danube Region

    Twitter: @EU_Regional #EUSDR #Danube

More news

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

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.

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
  • security

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

  • 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