Brussels, 26 June 2012
Danube Strategy: Commissioner Hahn visits Danube region from 27 June to 1 July to take stock of progress
One year after the launch of the Danube Strategy, which brings together 8 Member States and 6 neighbouring countries, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn is set to make a tour of the region to meet those who are putting the plan into action. The trip is also an opportunity for him to see at first-hand the progress being made through macro-regional cooperation, and to raise awareness, at political and public level, of the added value of the strategy. In the course of his tour which will lead through seven countries – Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria - the Commissioner will meet with high-level politicians and stakeholders. He will also visit a very wide range of Danube Strategy projects. The trip is timed to coincide with the annual Danube Day celebrations in the region.
Before the visit, Commissioner Hahn commented: 'The 14 Danube countries are already benefitting from their intensified cooperation under the Strategy. Practically a project a week has been identified for implementation since the Strategy got off the ground, and new networks are developing among in the field of business, innovation, security and much more. I want to see for myself how the teams leading this pioneering initiative are advancing, and spur them on to accelerate implementation of measures that can help contribute to jobs and growth".
The Danube Strategy combines regional, research, transport and environmental policies, as well as security, tourism and growth to make the region a better place to live and work. It is a tool for delivering the Europe 2020 Strategy, facilitating economic growth and the creation of jobs in the macro-region. In particular, specific actions are foreseen to:
Among the projects which the Commissioner will visit during his tour are the following: the East of Vienna river project, the “Business Incubator BIOS” in north-east Croatia and the Calafat-Vidin Bridge, where he will see a joint rescue exercise on the Danube River at the border between Romania and Bulgaria.
Press points will be held in Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Vukovar, Novi Sad, Viminiacium, Drobeta Turnu Severin and Vidin. Press releases with the detailed programme for each country will be available via the respective EC Representations and Delegations.
The countries involved in the EU Strategy for the Danube Region are: Germany (Baden‑Württemberg and Bavaria), Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, and Ukraine.
The novelty of the macro-regional method is the way it brings countries together to cooperate on joint issues by setting goals, aligning funding, and working together to achieve their objectives. Macro-regional Strategies provide a sharper focus on how existing funds are allocated, ensuring ‘joined-up thinking’ between different sectors.
An Action Plan sets priorities, identifies projects and proposes deadlines for action, while different countries and regions are chosen to coordinate each of the 11 priority areas of work (e.g. trans-European networks, innovation, SMEs, employment, water quality, security, etc. see IP/11/124). These coordinators are in charge of implementation, with the Commission closely monitoring the progress of the strategy.
Danube Day is an international day honouring the Danube and rivers that flow into it, paying tribute to the vital role they play in providing water, food, power, recreation and livelihood. Held on June 29, the day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Danube River Protection Convention in Sofia, Bulgaria on 29 June 1994.
Next steps: The 1st Annual Forum of the EUSDR will be held in Regensburg, Germany from 27-28 November 2012.
For more information
Day-to-day reporting of Commissioner Hahn's Danube trip on his website
Danube Tour photos on Flickr