The Danube states are closely connected with one another by the blue ribbon of the Danube and the cultural and historical relationships that have developed between them. The EU’s Strategy for the Danube Region in 2011 gave a fresh impetus to collaboration between the Danube states, which is to be further reinforced by the active backing of the elected regional and national parliaments. Ultimately it is the elected representatives of the people who are best able to ensure that intergovernmental collaboration addresses the concerns of the Danube region‘s citizens.
It therefore gives me great pleasure to invite you to the inaugural conference of Danube parliamentarians in Ulm on 11/12 July 2013, the aim of the conference being to signal the important role of parliaments in the context of Danube collaboration.
Guido Wolf MdL
President and Member of the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament
The State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg organized in Ulm, on July 11-12, 2013, the first Conference of Danube Parliamentarians, which was attended by delegations from 10 states from the Danube region.
the main topics that were debated during the event concerned the objectives of the EU strategy for the Danube Region, the contribution of Parliaments in the Danube region, and the prospects for future cooperation in the Danube region.
The event was attended by the delegations of FR Germany, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Serbia, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, province of Baden-Württemberg, province of Bavaria, province of Upper Austria, province of Lower Austria and the province of Vienna. Representatives of the European Parliament also attended the session.
In THE final declaration, the parliamentarians agreed to support the EU Strategy for the Danube Region by holding regular parliamentary meetings and conference. In this way, the President the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament, Guido Wolf, considers that the parliaments of the Danube countries can bring a contribution to the common growth of the Danube region, rendering it an important and original area.
The general aim of the Conference was to gain the acceptance of the people of Europe and the Danube region and to find a way to increase the visibility of the priorities of the Danube Strategy, which serve to foster stability, cultural cooperation and economic competitiveness in the region.
Peter Friedrich, Minister for the Bundesrat, Europe and International Affairs, and Walter Deffaa, Director General for Regional Policy and Urban Development at the European Commission, expressed their views on the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, to which the parliamentary delegations contributed with their opinions on how parliamentary cooperation can be achieved on the Danube in the future.
“With this conference, we have laid the foundation for a closer future cooperation among national and regional parliaments in the Danube region,” stressed the President of the Parliament. He expressed his contentment that the idea that Danube cooperation will have a parliamentary dimension was so popular among those present. As a future step in this respect,the next Conference of Danube Parliamentarians will take place in Hungary in 2014.
Within the framework of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, adopted in 2011, the governments of 14 Danube countries (Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine) cooperate in order to are cooperating to develop projects and actions that meet challenges that the region is faced with and build prosperity along the Danube. Moreover, through the Conferences of Danube Parliamentarians, this process will receive in the future an extra boost from national and regional parliaments.
The joint final declaration is based on European values
The conference ended with a joint written final declaration of the MPs (see the above group photo with the President of the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament, Guido Wolf, center, and the parliamentary delegations). The declaration encouraged that the basis of cooperation on the Danube should be the fundamental European values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for the rights of minorities. As a priority in the Danube cooperation process, parliamentarians consider the fight against corruption and human trafficking, the issues of education, health, environmental protection and social justice.
In their final declaration, the parliamentarians also advocated that the goals of the Danube Strategy need to be reflected into the new funding programs of the EU for the 2014-2020 programming period. “These funds should be used for the economic and social cohesion, the promotion of tourism, environmental protection, health care, strengthening democratic structures and for better connecting the Danube region,” said Wolf.