FM: Danube Strategy, ‘antidote against crisis’

Romania’s involvement in the EU Danube Strategy is aimed at creating prosperity and can serve as an antidote against the financial crisis, Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi said in a brief interview to Agerpres news agency, on the sidelines of the Danube Strategy Conference held in Constanta. The foreign minister explained that the strategy will give birth to prosperity in all communities bordering the Danube and that it will be tightly coordinated with all EU programmes.

The Constanta conference, scheduled to end today, marks the end of public consultations over the EU strategy and was organised by the European Commission, Foreign Ministry and the Regional Development and Tourism Ministry, bringing together leading representatives of Danube region countries, the European Commission and MEPs, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry.

In the opening of the event, Baconschi said the best way of capitalising on Danube region potential was to combine current forms of institutionalised cooperation with partnerships between local communities. He also emphasised the strategy’s importance by mentioning two priority objectives for Romania. “A first example, in the context of the development of a Danube Strategy Action Plan, is to create an International Centre for Advanced Studies on the Danube – Danube Delta – Black Sea, which will run activities and research projects. (…) Another fields of interest for riparian countries is that of a regional energy market,” the minister said, according to the press release.

European Commissioner for Regional Policies Johannes Hahn congratulated Romania as co-initiator of the strategy and underlined the importance of riparian states’ cooperation in order to achieve concrete results.

Also during the conference, Regional Development and Tourism Minister Elena Udrea said her ministry may take over the Danube-Bucharest Canal building project and include it in the EU Danube Strategy, Mediafax reported. Udrea also said one of the projects Romania might implement as part of the strategy was the building of the Danube-Bucharest Canal to connect the capital to Pan-European Transport Corridor VII via a navigable waterway with a shipping capacity of up to 20M tonnes per year.

“With this project we intend to connect Bucharest to the Danube, turning Bucharest into a Danube capital city,” the minister said. Udrea also added that such a project would also have other economic consequences “going back several decades.”

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