EU Strategy for the Danube Region

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    Today the European Commission adopted the first ever single report on the implementation of the four existing European Union (EU) macro-regional strategies: the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region and the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region

    The report provides an assessment of the state of implementation of the current strategies and takes stock of the main results achieved to date. It draws lessons from the experience gained so far and presents a number of recommendations on possible developments of the strategies and their action plans, also in the light of the future cohesion policy. 

    Common cross-cutting issues relevant for all four strategies are addressed in the report, regardless of their degree of maturity (e.g. policy making and planning, governance, monitoring and evaluation, funding and communication). Key results and challenges for each macro-regional strategy are presented in specific sections. 

    Overall the implementation of the four EU macro-regional strategies, covering 19 EU Member States and 8 non-EU countries, has generated stronger interest in and awareness of the European territorial cooperation and territorial cohesion and its added value. They have led to increased coordination and strengthened cooperation in certain areas (e.g. navigability, energy, climate change) and between countries concerned, as well as intensified cooperation with non-EU countries, bringing them closer to the EU. Strategies have also contributed to shaping policy, implementation of existing legislation and a deeper dialogue between different actors. 

    However, the strategies have not shown yet their full potential and certain challenges still need to be overcome. Greater ownership and responsibility need to be retained by Member States who initiated the strategies; effectiveness of governance systems needs to be improved; relevant existing funding sources (EU, regional, national) need to be better coordinated. The report also underlines the importance of administrative resources and capacity to deliver the set objectives. 

    Certain questions are raised in the light of future cohesion policy. These are, in particular, concerning synergies and complementarities between EU macro-regional strategies and programmes supported by the European Structural and Investment Funds, as well as alignment of strategies with Interreg transnational programmes and further improvement of governance system. 

    The report is accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Document which provides more detailed information concerning the state of implementation of each macro-regional strategy, as well as specific recommendations. 

    The report provides a comprehensive understanding on how the four EU macro-regional strategies work by including concrete examples implemented in the respective areas. Each of these has specific added-value, such:

    • the quality of the Baltic Sea water is improving and nutrient inflows are being reduced through implementation of projects like PRESTO or Interactive water management (IWAMA);
    • innovative and sustainable use of marine resources and cooperation between relevant actors and initiatives in the Baltic Sea region in this field is being further actively promoted by the SUBMARINER Network;
    • in the Danube river basin, the coordinated management of water and risk management though projects like SEERISK reduces considerably the risk of damage by floods;
    • bottlenecks to navigability of the Danube are being removed and security of navigation improved though projects like FAIRWAY and DARIF;
    • cooperation with EU countries on concrete issues of common interest within the EU Strategy for Adriatic and Ionian Region helps Western Balkan participating countries paving their way towards the EU accession;
    • aiming at a sustainable economic growth respectful of the environment, green/blue corridors linking land and sea in the Adriatic and Ionian Sea have been identified as a key area where strategic projects should be promoted;
    • establishing a cross-border educational space for dual vocational training in the Alpine region is addressed through projects like ‘mountErasmus’;
    • cross-border connectivity in the Alpine region is improved with regard to passenger transport by developing ‘AlpInfoNet’ into a cross-border travel information system. 

    More information

    Interact has published the first ever publication to comprise all four EU macro-regional strategies. Macro-regional strategies in changing times - EUSBSR, EUSDR, EUSALP and EUSAIR headed towards the future together offers a view of the issues concerning the four strategies and aims to familiarize stakeholders with strategies of other macro-regions than their own. This will help facilitate cooperation and peer-to-peer activities between strategies in the future.

    The publication includes points of view of experts and also an interesting quiz to test your knowledge on macro-regional strategies. Try it yourself!

    Today we launched the Danube Region Strategy: Success Stories at the 5th EUSDR Annual Forum, a collection of successful projects, reflecting the achievements of the Strategy during its first 5 years of implementation. Since 2011 the Danube Strategy of the EU provides a framework through which countries and regions along the Danube are working together to better tackle their joint challenges.  The brochure herein provides concrete examples of the results of this cooperation. 

    The projects and achievements show the added value of the Danube Strategy through examples of good practices which could also serve as source of inspiration in this and other macro-regional contexts. The brochure reunites these examples under 4 headings, correspondent to the 4 pillars of the Danube Strategy: connecting the region; protecting the environment; building prosperity and strengthening the region. 

    Danube Region Strategy: Success Stories is available in Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, English, German, Hungarian, Montenegrin, Romanian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian or Ukrainian.

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 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 12 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