|European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR)|
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Within the framework of the Danube Cooperation Process regional initiative, the Ministerial Meeting held in Kyiv, June 2008, launched an initiative (originally by Austria and Romania) to recommend to the European Commission to prepare a macro-regional Strategy for the Danube Region.
The European Commission was mandated by the EU Council on 18 June 2009 to devise a Common Comprehensive Strategy for the Danube Region. On 8 December 2010, the European Commission adopted the final text of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (Communication), as well as the accompanying Action Plan. The European Council formally endorsed the Strategy under the Hungarian EU Presidency (24 June 2011).
Fourteen Danube River States participated in the preparation of the Strategy for the Danube Region, out of which eight are EU members (FR Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia) and 6 are non-EU Member States (Croatia, R. Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ukraine, Moldova). The region has more than 115 million inhabitants.
The Strategy for the Danube Region rests upon four main thematic pillars:
a) interconnection and communications – transport, navigation, support infrastructure and energy;
b) environmental protection, risk prevention (primarily protection against flooding) and sustainable use of natural resources;
c) socio-economic development and institution building;
d) strengthening of regional cooperation.
In the elaboration of the Strategy, the EC was guided by three main principles: that no new legal frameworks or new institutions would be created and that no additional funds would be provided in the current budget. Starting from 2014 (new EU budget), additional financial resources are available through various forms of financing.
The Strategy outlines 11 priority areas for project implementation for which coordinator countries have been designated (2 for each area).
The Republic of Serbia has been designated to coordinate two priority areas:
a) Area No. 1 – infrastructure: rail, road and air transport (together with Slovenia) – the coordinator is Mr. Miodrag Poledica, State Secretary of the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure
b) Area No. 7 – science and knowledge economy (together with Slovakia) – coordinator is Prof. Dr. Viktor Nedovic, Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development (Sector for European Integration and Development and Research Programmes and Projects in Education and Science).
In order to ensure timely institutional preparations for active participation in the development and implementation of the Strategy, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted a decision, as early as on 24 September 2009, to set up a Working Group for Cooperation with the EU in the Danube Region. Members of the Working Group include representatives of the Ministries and institutions relevant for cooperation with the EU in the Danube region, as well as representatives of the Executive Council of Vojvodina and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.