On 8 December 2010, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.
After an extensive consultation including countries, regions, stakeholders and citizens, the Commission is proposing a Strategy for the entire Danube Region.
The Danube Region includes 115 million European citizens, 14 countries of which 8 are Member States, and the most international river in the world.
In order to work together on the common challenges and make full use of the Danube Region's huge potential, the Commission has outlined a Strategy based on previous experience in the Baltic Sea Region. The Strategy establishes a framework for long-term cooperation on a wide range of issues and will bring added value, by ensuring coherence between different policy areas, and greater coordination between participating states.
The Strategy identifies several key priorities where common action is required.
An Action Plan sets out 4 main pillars for action, with 11 priority areas.
Connecting the Danube Region
· To improve mobility and multimodality
Road, rail and air links
· To encourage more sustainable energy
· To promote culture and tourism, people to people contacts
Protecting the Environment in the Danube Region
· To restore and maintain the quality of waters
· To manage environmental risks
· To preserve biodiversity, landscapes and the quality of air and soils
Building Prosperity in the Danube Region
· To develop the knowledge society through research, education and information technologies
· To support the competitiveness of enterprises, including cluster development
· To invest in people and skills
Strengthening the Danube Region
· To step up institutional capacity and cooperation
· To work together to promote security and tackle organised and serious crime
By working on concrete actions and projects, the Strategy will directly improve the living conditions and increase the opportunities and prosperity of all citizens living in the Danube Region. Given the inter-linked nature of many of these challenges, cooperation within a "macro-regional" framework is intended to produce more effective coordination. This approach does not imply new laws or institutions but rather strengthens links between different policies and between a wide range of stakeholders. It aims to serve the interest of the region as a whole while taking into account its diversity.
The Council will now consider the Strategy during the Hungarian EU Presidency with a view to endorsing it in spring 2011. More information about the Danube Strategy, including the Communication and its Action Plan, can be found via the link.