A high level conference on 'Scientific Support to the Danube Strategy: Environment protection, irrigation and agricultural development, navigability, energy production and European governance' organised by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) took place in Brussels on 24 April.
The Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šef ovi , delivered a key note speech at the conference. He underlined the political support of the European Commission for the science support to the Danube Region and also stressed how pleased he was with the cooperation between the JRC and the Academies of Science of the Member States and with DG REGIO.
Together with the JRC Director-General, Dominique Ristori, many prominent speakers and moderators spoke at the conference, including MEP Markus Ferber, the Chair of the Institute for the Danube Region, Erhard Busek, the European Coordinator for Inland Waterways, Karla Peijs, the Director-General of DG REGIO, Walter Deffaa, as well as the Presidents of the Academies of Sciences of several Danube countries.
The objective was to identify and discuss the scientific needs related to the EU strategy for the Danube region endorsed by the European Council in June 2011. The JRC launched an initiative for providing scientific support to the implementation of the Danube Strategy in close cooperation with the Academies of Sciences of the Danube Member States. The initiative focuses on four vertical priorities (environment protection, irrigation and agricultural development, navigability and energy production) and a horizontal one, European governance.
As key conclusions to the conference, the need for trans-disciplinary and transnational cooperation involving all relevant actors was highlighted. The need for identification of priorities was underlined by key participants. The creation of harmonised key data sets on the Danube Region will be a starting ground for the launch of large-scale projects. Finally, the JRC initiative will be opened-up to the broader scientific community including universities and other research organisations of the Member States and of the other non-EU countries of the Danube region.
The conference brought together approximately one hundred key stakeholders from the Danube region, such as high level representatives of the Danube countries, the scientific community, the industry and EU policy makers.
The 'Scientific Support to the Danube Strategy' received strong support from the participants in the event. Many of them congratulated the JRC Director General for launching this initiative and confirmed the importance of the four priorities identified by the JRC. On the European Commission's side, in addition to DG REGIO, DG MOVE, DG ENER and DG RTD were also represented at the event and gave their support to the initiative.