Within the framework of this year’s Bulgarian Presidency in the European Strategy for the Danube Region, a meeting of the national coordinators from the EUSDR member countries was held in Sofia on 22 February. The meeting was also attended by the representatives of the European Commission and the Danube Transnational Programme (Interreg).
Announcement of Bulgaria’s priorities in the EUSDR for 2018 was one of the key agenda items. In 2018, Bulgaria will focus on the development of tourism, as well as cultural and historical heritage of the Danube region, and will continue to work on improving the governance and coordination of the EUSDR. Denitsa Nikolova, Bulgarian National Coordinator, emphasised that the interaction and cooperation of all participants and stakeholders in the planned activities is necessary in order to enhance the macroeconomic integration, employment and synchronisation of the relations between the partner countries. During the 7th Annual EUSDR Forum in Sofia in October 2018, a meeting of tourism ministers of the member countries will be held to discuss the results of activities and opportunities for further cooperation in the region.
Particular attention was paid to the discussion of the Danube Strategy Point, which is relevant to the participation of Ukraine, as it contributes to building capacity of non-EU countries. First of all, the Strategy Point is an important supporting tool for promoting the implementation of the EUSDR and enhancing its effectiveness through improved communication between national coordinators and coordinators of priority areas.
In the context of building effective communication between the four EU macro-regional strategies, the participants analysed the potential and possibilities for their implementation. The European Commission announced its intention to begin the preparation of a report on the implementation of macro-regional strategies. Already in March 2018 a survey of participants will begin, which will serve as the basis for the general report in December 2018. This document will contain comprehensive information on the state of implementation of regional strategies, successes and further development plans. It will provide an opportunity to monitor the activity and process efficiency, analyse indicators and statistical data, and get acquainted with the best practices of macro-regional cooperation. The preliminary report of the European Commission on the implementation of macro-regional strategies was prepared in December 2016. The report in English can be found HERE
For Ukrainian regions, participation in the EUSDR is an opportunity to engage in joint projects and implement already existing initiatives in partnership with other Danube countries. Activation of Ukraine’s participation in the EUSDR is also important at the national level, since this year Ukraine launched an initiative to chair the EUSDR in 2021.
The European Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) brings together 14 countries along the Danube river. The strategy works in 11 priority areas: transport infrastructure development, environmental challenges, competitiveness support, knowledge development, institutional capacity, promotion of security in the region, and others. MinRegion is responsible for implementation and communication of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region in Ukraine. Four oblasts of Ukraine are part of the EUSDR: the Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi and Odesa Oblasts.
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