DIPLOMACY

EU Affairs Minister: Romania planning relaunch of EU Danube Region Strategy

Minister Delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu, in remarks on the occasion of the celebration of the International Danube Day, said that as Romania will take over the Presidency of the European Union’s Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) between November 2018 – October 2019, it plans to relaunch this macro-strategy, so that the benefits of Romania’s participation in this form of regional cooperation become more visible to the citizens.

The 2018 celebration coincides with the tenth anniversary of the launch by Romania and Austria of the initiative to set up the European strategy for the development of the Danube macro-region, one of the successful projects promoted by Romania at EU level, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a release.

“The Danube creates a real connection between states and communities and is an important source of energy and water supply, a navigable waterway connecting the east and the center of Europe and, not in the last place, a natural heritage of global importance. A recognition of the river’s essential role to the states along its basin is the European Union’s Strategy for the Danube Region, an initiative launched by Romania and Austria in June 2008 to create a strengthened cooperation platform to contribute to the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the states in the region. By taking over the Presidency of the European Union’s Strategy for the Danube Region between November 2018 and October 2019, Romania plans to relaunch this macro-strategy so that the benefits of our country’s participation in this form of regional cooperation become more visible to the citizens,” said Victor Negrescu, as cited in the release.

International Danube Day was celebrated for the first time in 2004 by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River to mark ten years since the signing of the Convention on Cooperation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the Danube River (Sofia, June 29, 1994).

The European Strategy for the Danube Region is the second macro-regional strategy of the European Union (of four existing), that takes after the cooperation model developed through the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (adopted in 2009) with adjustments to the specificity of the Danube region.

EUSDR is the most extensive macro-strategy by the number of participating states, representing a cooperation mechanism of the Danube basin states, intended for the economic, social and territorial development of the Danube macro-region. EUSDR is a political initiative of Romania and Austria, promoted through a joint letter signed by the two states’ Prime Ministers (June 2008) to the President of the European Commission. Based on this move and following consultations with the 14 member states, the European Commission presented on December 8, 2010 the Communication on the Danube Region Strategy and the Plan of Action, and on April 13, 2011 the document was adopted by the Council of the European Union.

Just like the other EU macro-strategies, the EUSDR was designed based on the three No’s principle – no new EU funds, no additional EU formal structures and no new EU legislation. In the absence of a specific financial instrument dedicated to supporting projects under the EUSDR, these have been achieved by putting to use existing European funds.

There are 14 states participating in the EU Strategy for the Danube Region: nine EU member states (Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany – as a federal state and with the lands of Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary) and five other countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine), the Foreign Ministry’s release states.

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