EU Strategy for the Danube Region

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    In these times, Europe’s tourism sector experiences a new demand for special and diverse short trips closer to home.

    A joint project of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, and DG Regio, European Commission, proposes you different itineraries in your region to accommodate your wanderlust and to get to know Routes4U.

    Routes4U combines a selection of the Council of Europe’s 38 certified Cultural Routes and the four EU macro-regional strategies, supported by the European Commission, giving tourists a chance to discover Europe’s diverse landscape of cultures, history, and gastronomy in the Adriatic and Ionian, the Alpine, the Baltic Sea and the Danube Regions.

    In a new video launched today, Routes4U will take you on a breath-taking adventure on new cultural routes under development through the European continent and beyond, covering 31 countries: 19 EU member states and 12 non-EU countries. Enjoy a cultural journey – explore your macro-region!

    With more than 15 years’ experience as a certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, the Routes of the Olive Tree gives visitors a taste of the life, traditions and history of the Mediterranean people, with world-famous festivals, exhibitions, music and product tasting events.

    The project of the Iron Age Route around the Danube river basin uncovers ancient treasures in unspoilt nature, allowing visitors to discover the hidden archaeological heritage that spans this fascinating region.

    The legacy of the Roman empire is still felt today in European culture, inspiring generations of artists, urbanists and architects. The theme of Roman Heritage gives visitors a chance to uncover lesser-known Roman sites across nine countries in the Adriatic and Ionian regions, while the Via Claudia Augusta takes tourists on a journey along trans-Alpine line of communication developed during the reign of Emperor Claudius.

    A trip to the Byzantine era takes visitors through the countries of the Danube region along the Cyril and Methodius Route to follow in the footsteps of the two saints whose contribution to the growth of the common Christian roots of Europe included the creation of the Glagolitic alphabet and the translation of the Bible into the Slavic language.

    The Maritime Heritage of the Baltic Sea offers the opportunity to explore submerged landscapes from the Stone Age, an abundance of shipwrecks from centuries of intense trade and conflict, as well as beautiful coastal landscapes that have shaped the cultural identity of the region.

    Dedicated to modern architecture as a binding element of the Baltic Sea region, you will discover the emblematic 20th century design through the works of this seminal Finnish designer Alvar Aalto, who laid the groundwork for the humanised, user-friendly environments we take for granted today.

    Finally, the Via Alpina and Mountain Heritage, a network of five hiking routes across the Alps, opens up the alpine experience to everyone through all seasons, in a journey through serene forests, rocky mountain ranges, and crystalline lakes.

    Looking forward to welcome you along the routes,

    Further information : Routes4U


    The European Commission welcomes the revised Action Plan of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, which provides a cooperation framework for the 14 EU and non-EU participating countries, including new strategic actions for EU policy implementation.  Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira commented: “Cooperation is at the essence of Cohesion Policy, which is at the heart of the European project. More than ever today, we need to reinforce the cooperative approach when solving issues that know no borders, such as the coronavirus pandemic. The revised Action Plan of the Danube macro-regional strategy, which celebrates 10 years in 2020, comes into force at a perfect time for the countries involved to cooperate in tackling the economic consequences of this crisis.

    The revised Action Plan is based on the initial 2010 plan and, after more than one and a half year of intensive work, it has now been updated in order to properly tackle the future challenges, providing streamlined actions and orientations to use relevant funding instruments in the region.

    The revised plan strategically links the Danube macro-regional actions to the new Commission’s priorities such as the Green Deal, sustainable development, digitalisation, migration and demographic change. Moreover, it also presents the Danube Strategy’s new measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises, and addresses actions for the tourism sector, which is very relevant considering that both these sectors will be severely hit by the current crisis.

    More information on EU macro-regional strategies

    EuroAccess Macro-Regions, an online search tool and central information point on EU funding in the Macro-regions, was initiated in 2016 by EUSDR PAC 10 and is financed by DG REGIO and the City of Vienna. The tool supports interested stakeholders to find the right funding programme for their project idea.

    On the website you can search for open calls for proposals or compare more than 350 different funding programmes. The tool has a number of filters to facilitate the identification of the most suitable EU programme/call for your organisation and project idea, it is free and easy accessible. Registered users can save interesting information in their profile and opt in for a newsletter providing news on open calls based on personal interest. Watch the online video to find out how to work with EuroAccess Macro-Regions!

    Macro-Regional Strategies

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The area covered by the EUSDR is mainly the basin of the 2.857 km long Danube River, including also the parts of the mountain ranges where its tributaries originate (like the Alps, or the Carpathians). It stretches from the Black Forest (Germany) to the Black Sea (Romania-Moldova-Ukraine) and is home to around 115 million inhabitants. Involving 14 countries, it is the largest and most diverse macro-regional strategy: nine EU Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, parts of Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia), three Accession Countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia) and two Neighbouring Countries (Moldova, parts of Ukraine).

Map of the Danube region

The Danube Strategy was formally created on 13 April 2011 when the EU Council endorsed the Communication and the accompanying Action Plan on the EUSDR at the General Affairs Council (Council Conclusions). The Action Plan was completely revised in 2019-2020

For news and information on the activities of the Strategy, please visit the EUSDR's dedicated website and explore the interactive video.

The Danube region, one of the largest macro-region is facing several challenges:

    • environmental threats (water pollution, floods, climate change)
    • untapped shipping potential and lack of modern 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 EUSDR 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 the secretary of the REGIO. DDG.D1 :