Written by Sorina Silvia Ionescu
Two years after the launching of EU Strategy for the Danube Region, the European Commission has released the first progress report. The report provides information on the achievements so far for the 4 pillars and the 11 priority areas: Connecting the Danube Region, Protecting the Environment, Building Prosperity and Strengthening the Danube Region. It includes recommendations for the future, and reiterates how the Strategy is creating new projects through collaborations and combined funding.
The European Commission has published in 2014 a report on the governance of macro-regional strategies defining key elements of governance, asking for the structure of governance to be reviewed to ensure that the implementation of the Strategies brings clear impact and better results.
In a Joint Statement, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the participant countries to EUSDR have agreed on some arrangements for the governance of the strategy in the next programming period.
This Keysources provides a selection of relevant documents on the implementation of the EUSDR in 2007-2013 and some programming documents for the period 2014-2020.
This Report responds to the Council invitation to facilitate discussions to improve governance of macro-regional strategies, and to report by end-2014. Better governance must clarify what is required for the success of the approach, including responsibility being more effectively taken by the countries that initiated the Strategies.
The term “governance” describes the process to be addressed – how and by whom the Strategies are implemented, joint actions initiated and financed. More specifically, current key elements of governance include:
– Member State and Commission involvement at high political (i.e. ministerial) level providing political commitment and strategic orientation;
– National Contact Points, high level officials in each participating country coordinating work at senior administrative level;
– Experts, responsible for each thematic priority (e.g. environment, transport, research and innovation etc.), or horizontal issue (e.g. climate change, spatial planning), from each country involved, and normally forming a steering group for the topic at the level of the macro-region.
These elements constitute the structure to be reviewed and strengthened, to ensure that the implementation of the Strategies brings clear impact and better results.
Building on the Council Conclusions of 22 October 2013 and welcoming the European Commission Report on governance of macro-regional strategies of 20 May 2014 as a clear basis for achieving results, Ministers have agreed on some arrangements for the governance of the strategy.
3rd Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region: conference report / European Commission and city of Vienna, 26/27 June 2014, 11 p.
Report from the Commission concerning the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region / European Commission, COM(2013) 181 final, 8.4.2013, 10 p.
The European Commission has released the first progress report on the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, which presents the achievements of the first phase of implementation and the recommendations for the next period. This information is summarised in a two pages leaflet .
Reports on the implementation of the 11 priority areas of the EUSDR (published on June 2013):
The country factsheets, published on April 2013 by DG Regional and Urban Policy, provide information initiatives/projects the respective country is involved in and key stakeholders: Austria ; Bulgaria ; Czech Republic ; Germany ; Croatia ; Hungary ; Moldova ; Romania ; Serbia ; Slovakia ; and Ukraine .
Programming period 2014-2020
Partnership Agreements 2014-2020
The Partnership Agreements of the participant EU countries to EUSDR include information on alignment of policies and funding, based on the integrated EUSDR approach: Austria ; Bulgaria ; Czech Republic ; Germany ; Croatia ; Hungary ; Romania ; and Slovakia
Cross-border cooperation programme Central Europe 2020
Challenges affecting the Danube Region that could be addressed by the Central Europe 2020 Programme (pp. 94-95) refer to environment protection and sustainable use, especially to mitigate pressures and usage conflicts affecting natural heritage (e.g. from industry, intensive agriculture, climate change, transport, and tourism). Challenges and needs referring to economic and social development, energy efficiency and renewable energy usage as well as transport along the east-west axis could possibly also be tackled within the Central Europe 2020 Programme.
The Danube Transnational Co-operation Programme 2014-2020
The geographical area of the new Danube Programme is identical to the area covered by the EU Strategy for the Danube Region adopted in 2011. The macro-regional strategy and the transnational programme represent very different instruments; they focus on the same geographical area, but on very different principles and levels. Beyond contributing to the implementation of priority areas of the Strategy through related transnational projects, the Danube Programme will also support the governance of the Danube Region Strategy.
The thematic objectives of the Danube Programme must be defined in line with the cohesion policy regulations and the national priorities of the partner countries, taking into account the needs of the programme area. The priorities of the Programme are expected to cover traditional transnational topics, such as innovation, transport and environmental protection, etc.
Ex-ante Evaluation and Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Operational Programme of the Danube Transnational Co-operation Programme 2014-2020: the scoping report of SEA; the executive summary; and the Danube Territorial Analysis are available for consultations .