Romania intends to reinvigorate the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), Minister Delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu told the EUSDR National Forum, an event organized on Monday at the Palace of Parliament, on the occasion of the launch of Romania’s EUSDR Presidency.
“We set ourselves as a goal to have the EUSDR Presidency go along with our Presidency of the Council of the European Union in order to promote by these means a more intense consolidation of added value to macro-regional strategies,” said Negrescu.
The minister said that “a first partial result” of the activity will be presented at the EUSDR European Annual Forum that will take place June 27 – 28 in Bucharest.
“We seek to better capitalize on the opportunities offered by the implementation of this strategy and, particularly, take advantage on everything Danube potential, which all member states should better access. (…) We seek to reinvigorate EUSDR by working together with partner states to update the European plan of action,” he said.
Victor Negrescu also spoke about the challenges of the EUSDR Presidency.
“Together with our colleagues from the Ministry of Development, we plan to render operational the EUSDR Secretariat because (…) I would point out that one and a half years ago, when we started approaches to take over this Presidency, only few believed in Romania’s desire to revive this strategy. Our candidacy was met with skepticism, but we were able to win the Presidency, with our partners’ support,” Negrescu pointed out.
He went on to say that “over 50 events dedicated to the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region will be organized in the year ahead”.
“EUSDR is also a key priority of our Presidency of the EU Council. Our ambition to organize events and meetings is to prove leadership in what this strategy means,” Negrescu said. “One year ago, when I took office as Minister, not even the legal framework for the organization of the EUSDR was in place. Not even a list of projects was there. Today, it’s on the Strategy’s website,” he said.
The Minister Delegate for European Affairs also referred to the financing of the projects included in EUSDR.
“It would be good if more financial resources flowed in, this is why we set ourselves as a concrete goal to include this possibility in the negotiations on the future European budget, for macro-regional policy initiatives to benefit from additional access to the other resources managed directly from Brussels, whether we are talking about the Horizon Europe program or about the Connecting Europe Facility (…) and these things are not easy at all,” he said.
EUSDR is one of the four macro-regional strategies of the European Union, successfully initiated and promoted by Romania and Austria and endorsed by the European Council in 2011. EUSDR is a cooperation platform of the Danube states, aimed at the economic and social development of the Danube macro-region and represents a framework to articulate priority national development goals and the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth committed to by the EU member states.
Fourteen states participate in the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region: nine EU member states (Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany – as a federal state and the Länder of Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary) and five other countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine).
The strategy is structured on 11 priority areas and has four major goals: interconnecting the Danube region, protecting the Danube region environment, increasing prosperity in the Danube region and strengthening the Danube region.
Romania’s Presidency of the EUSDR between 1 November 2018 and 31 October 2019 will be carried out under the title ‘We Strengthen Cohesion for Common Prosperity in the Danube Region’, through which we wanted synergy with the motto of the Presidency of Romania at the Council of the European Union, ‘Cohesion, a Common European Value,’ given the overlapping of the two terms in the first half of next year,” a press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs.