EU Strategy for the Danube Region

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    Boosting innovation and entrepreneurship, preserving the natural and cultural assets of the Danube region, improving the connectivity and supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy will form the key focus of the new "Danube Transnational Cooperation Programme" adopted today. 

    The Programme will support transnational cooperation projects in line with the priorities of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). Its geographical focus is identical to the area covered by the Strategy, involving regions of 9 EU countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) and 3 non EU countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro). Moldova and Ukraine will also be eligible under the programme once the funding from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is settled. 

    Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy said: “I am delighted to adopt this programme today. The programme has been designed to directly contribute to the successful implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region through its thematic priorities and its support to the Strategy's governance. It should help the countries involved to develop projects with tangible and positive impact, which will enable them to remain attractive places to live, study, work, visit and invest in.” 

    The EU will invest more than €202 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and €19.8 million from the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) for transnational projects in the Danube basin territory. 

    The first call for proposals will be launched in the autumn of 2015. The kick-off event will take place on 23 and 24 September in Budapest.

    More Information

    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 will take place on 29 and 30 October 2015 at the Trade Fair Ulm. Please save the date for the most important event of the year for the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.

    Under the title "Smart, social, sustainable - Innovation for the Danube Region", the forum will put a strong emphasis on topics such as innovation, professional training and dual education, entrepreneurship and civil society as key factors for a sustainable and integrative growth in the Danube Region. Several thematic sessions will give the participants of the conference the opportunity to take a closer look at the complex mechanisms that should be put together on a political, project and funding level in order to profit largely of the potential of a macro-regional strategy. Additionally there will be many networking opportunities and interactive offers like workshops, panel discussions and an exhibition area.

    More information will soon be available at www.danube-region-eu"

    EU Macro-Regional Strategies are pioneering a new model of cooperation across Europe. As the Commission is working on a proposal for the fourth such Strategy - for the Alpine Region, Euronews Real Economy magazine looks at this new trend which is changing the way regions work together across EU and non-EU borders, discussing the issue with European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu.

    Real Economy reports from Croatia – a country participating in two Macro-Regional Strategies – for the Danube and Adriatic-Ionian regions. The episode assesses the success and challenges the Strategies are helping to overcome. With 'Sustainable tourism' as one of the pillars of the Adriatic and Ionian Strategy, Croatian Minister of Tourism, Darko Lorencin underlines the importance of boosting competitiveness and of strengthening national administrations to enable them to realise these Strategies' programmes.

    Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Creţu explains that while the macro-regional approach is not about creating new institutions or new legislation, it provides the platform for common actions and facilitates an exchange of information, best practice and experience. Importantly, it allows participating countries to learn from each other and to focus on a few key priorities that will bring real results and benefits to the everyday lives of the macro-regions' citizens.

    Watch all Real Economy episodes

    EU Macro-Regional Strategies

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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

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 www.danube-region.eu/pages/funding-opportunities

  • 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 Regio-eu-danube-strategy@ec.europa.eu