6th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region commences in Budapest

EPA/Zsolt Szigetvary

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Ministers responsible for the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) issued a joint statement, saying that they believe that the issues of regional energy security, infrastructure development and clean connectivity are at the core of future economic development and prosperity. 

These subjects rely on regional cooperation in the fields of research and innovation in order to promote the development and the competitiveness of the Danube Region. We must address these issues in a holistic, integrated manner, taking into account perspectives and experiences of local actors and civil society as important contributors to and beneficiaries of the EUSDR”, reads the statement.

With regard to energy security, as the current decade draws nearer to its close, we recognize that the map of the Central and South-East European gas supply routes will undergo profound transformations in the coming years. A number of important policy developments are set to occur until 2019, resulting, inter alia, in the need to rethink the role that the EU Strategy for the Danube Region plays in advancing regional energy security post 2020. We underline the urgency of diversifying our energy sources and supply routes by completing regional gas network connections, thus enabling access to new infrastructure projects, for example the Southern Gas Corridor, which is the European Union’s flagship diversification project and reiterate the necessity of finalizing other connectivity projects between EUSDR member countries”, the ministers explained.

We firmly believe that regional infrastructure development is key to ensuring the sustainable and stable economic development of the region. In order to achieve better interconnectivity, a clear understanding of the current level of implementation of a number of strategic infrastructure development projects is essential. (…) Therefore, we call on all national stakeholders within the EU Strategy for the Danube Region to continue the development of the TEN-T corridors, its capillary networks - while also taking into account elements of Green Infrastructure - while also further increasing the number of border crossings within the region, provided that it is done in the logic of the development of the TEN-T corridors and green infrastructure”, the statement concludes.

Successful implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region is only possible with the execution of all strategic projects, supported on the one hand by EU and national funds, and on the other by close cooperation between the participating countries. In this respect, European Territorial Cooperation programs - in all their forms, be it interregional, transnational or cross-border - are extremely relevant supporting mechanisms by virtue of their now over 20 years of experience in financing and facilitating cooperation between countries. Optimal use of available financial resources is a prerequisite to fully unlocking the potential of the EUSDR and its programs. Furthermore, we are convinced that the EUSDR and the funding instruments that are operating in the Danube Region should be brought to the greatest possible congruence”, reads the joint statement issued by ministers responsible for the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.