EU Strategy for the Danube Region

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    Did you know that cooperation in the Danube region is supporting sturgeons’ conservation efforts, in addition to helping young entrepreneurs to finance their projects? Could you imagine that Slovenia manages to take advantage of fishery opportunities thanks to cooperation within the Adriatic and Ionian region? Were you aware that EU Strategy for the Alps supports the Bohinj tourism initiative, which certifies geographical origin, uniqueness, originality and local specialty of products?

    You will find on National RTV Slovenia more than 20 videos illustrating the benefits of cooperation across various sectors within the three Macro-regional strategies. Slovenia is a member of three macro-regional strategies out of four: the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR), and the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP).

    * copyright : RTV 4 Channel


    On 3 December 2018, the Transport Ministers of the countries of  the Danube region  gathered in Brussels upon invitation of EU Commissioner Violeta Bulc to reinforce their commitment to an effective navigation status of the Danube and its navigable tributaries.

    The Danube Transport ministers of 10 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine) adopted the “Conclusions on effective waterway infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance on the Danube and its navigable tributaries”. The decision was taken to strengthen in 2019 and beyond the implementation of the Fairway Rehabilitation and Maintenance Master Plan developed by the EUSDR Priority Action 1A, in order to meet the targets fixed by the existing international legal framework.

    Already 95 million EUR have been invested through EU co-financed projects within the frameworks of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the Operational programmes and the Instrument for Pre-Accession. Considering the crucial economic role played by the region in the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) as well as the environmental advantages of inland navigation, ministers underlined the importance of resources in order to maintain activities in this sector.

    The Ministerial Conclusions address the next steps to take and focus in particular on measures to encourage the joint work on Navigation and Security within the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (PA1A and PA11), with the view to further secure and harmonize fairway navigation conditions and digitalize administrative processes. In particular, removing bottlenecks at borders controls will allow more efficient processes in Danube navigation. Rehabilitation of strategically important lock facilities, reduction of administrative barriers and greening of the inland fleet also feature in the Conclusions.

    Every day, unsung heroes all over Europe join forces to make the EU a safer, more sustainable and inclusive place to live. At a time when great global challenges such as globalization and climate change cannot be tackled in isolation, they work tirelessly to counter their divisive effects through concrete projects on the ground and to bring the EU closer to its citizens. We share their stories, as they are achievements for all of us, and pay homage to them on our new media platform: “EU PROTECTS – together we protect”. This initiative covers topics such as safety, health, society but also environment.

    One of the recently featured stories in particular highlights the efforts made in the Danube Region to save the sturgeons and to support the communities relying on these fish species, central to their culture and livelihoods. DG REGIO and DG ENV’s close cooperation contributed to bringing together these actors. They are researchers, NGOs, local officials, fishermen and teachers, committed to raise awareness about the threats on ecosystems and the need for fit biodiversity conservation measures.

    The EU protects the environment, by helping heroes to connect their fights and by encouraging synergies between their diverse backgrounds and the different scopes of their actions. For more information about the EU funded projects aiming at sturgeon’s conservation, click here.

    Photo: One of the local heroes, Thomas Friedrich in Vienna, Donauinsel, Life Sterlet Project 

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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

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

  • 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