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August 15, 2022

Bucharest must set priorities within Danube Strategy, presidential aide says

The project has all chances to be a success, serving as “vector of progress for regional cooperation,” Foreign Ministry State Secretary Bogdan Aurescu believes.

Presidential aide on national security issues Iulian Fota (photo) said on Monday that Romania must set a list of priorities with wide-scale projects within the Danube Strategy and insist with the European Union to allocate funds for these projects. In a conference called “Danube Space – history and becoming,” organised by the International Studies Institute within the Cluj Napoca Babes-Bolyai Univer­sity’s School of History and Philosophy, Fota underlined that the Danube is “a fundamental issue for Romania,” according to Mediafax news agency.

“For Romania, everything to do with the Danube and Black Sea is important policy and the Danube is a fundamental issue for Romania. The Danube Strategy offers a great chance to connect people, their ideas and needs. There are cooperation opportunities, only through cooperation can we assure increased competitiveness. The Strategy is a big chance for Romania to catch up with other countries such as Austria or Germany,” Fota said.

The presidential aide underlined that the country must be involved in priority projects in the region, within the strategy, and not let itself be drawn into “marginal projects.” Fota added that the Danube could also be an opportunity for Central Asian investors to enter west-European markets via Romania.

In his turn, Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary of State for European affairs Bogdan Aurescu underlined that the Danube Strategy is a project that “has all the chances to become a successful on, from the point of view of implementing regional development policies,” but also as a political project and one that helps inter-human and cultural contacts. “The Danube Strategy comes at the right time because if can be a vector of progress for regional cooperation, with measurable objectives. It’s entirely up to us how to change this opportunity into concrete benefits,” Aurescu added.
The Foreign Ministry state secretary believes Romania could identify a series of projects within the Danube Strategy, projects related to improving transport infrastructure by enhancing navigation or creating inter-nodal systems on the river. “We will also have to pay special attention to ecosystems and natural habitats and to green economy. Another way of capitalising the Danube region’s potential is the partnership between local communities, between the public, private sector and the civil society,” Aurescu also said.

Besides Fota and Aurescu, yesterday’s conference in Cluj was also attended by the head of the International Studies Institute, Romania’s former chief negotiator with the EU, Vasile Puscas, by Hungarian Ambassador Oszkar Fuzes, ex presidential aide on national security issues Sergiu Medar and several students of the Babes-Bolyai University.
The Danube Strategy is set to be approved by the European Council on June 24, after being accepted by the General Affairs Council on April 13. It is one of the main priorities of the Hungarian EU presidency, Budapest hoping to see the Strategy passed until its term ends, so that the Polish presidency would be able to start implementing the plan without delay.

The strategy has four main priorities: connectivity (inter-nodal transport, culture and tourism, energy networks), environment protection (water resources management, biodiversity protection and risk management, increasing the region’s prosperity (education, research, competitiveness), and improving the governing system (institutional capacity and internal security), according to information posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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