Competitiveness of Enterprises in the Danube Region MEP Danube Forum

ASP 5G1, European Parliament, Brussels, July 9, 2012

Held at the European Parliament in Bruxelles, on July 9th 2012, at the initiative of MEP Silvia-Adriana ŢICĂU – Vice chair of the TRAN Committee , MEP Michael THEURER – Chair of the Budgetary Control Committee  and MEP Mariya Ivanova NEDELCHEVA -Member of the AGRI Committee, the Danube Forum discussed the needs and opportunities for the development of undertakings in the Danube Region. Dr. Hans Peter HERDLITSCHKA – Priority area coordinator, was invited to deliver a state of play of the EUSDR in the Priority area 8 – “To support the competitiveness of entreprises”.

Transport infrastructure, energy and communications are extremely important for competitiveness growth in the Danube Region. Member states in this region have to be encouraged to use the EUR 230 Million available of the EU’s total budget for issuing bonds and finances projects from the three sectors. The programme will be managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and draft projects have to be submitted by December 31.

That is why, Adriana Țicău has asked the participants to analyse, from the perspective of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, the proposals of the European Commission on the recast of the Regulations related to the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), Trans-European Energy Network (TEN-E) and of the TEN-ICT network, Connecting Europe Facility, as well as the guidelines concerning the eligibility and selecting join-interest projects for the EU.

“To increase the competitiveness of the undertakings in the Danube Region it is essential that countries which have access to the Danube would elaborate projects in the area of competitiveness and to submit them to the coordinators of the priority action 8 – “competitiveness and innovation” of the EU Strategy on the Danube Region. To this end, member states can use the unspent money from the multi-annual financial framework 2007-2013 for the development of feasibility studies and even for the implementation of pilot projects and projects to be finalized by 2015. Also, member states can reorganise their Operating Programmes of the current financial period (2007-2013) and to prepare the programmes for 2014-2020 in order to prioritise the strategic projects in the Danube Region and to increase the absorption of EU funds”, declared Adriana Țicău, initiator of the Danube Forum in the EP.

She added that “Competitiveness and innovation capacity of the European undertakings are essential for economic growth and creating jobs in the region. To increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized undertakings in the Danube Region, the countries should make the necessary decision to ensure their access to the market (including public procurement) and to eliminate bureaucracy, especially as regards cross-border cooperation”.

Michael Theurer (Germany ALDE), Chairman of the Committee for Budget Control and Vice-Chair of MEP Danube Forum also commented bureaucracy issues, saying that “Bureaucracy is the natural enemy of entrepreneurship and competitiveness, especially for small and medium undertakings. The countries in the Danube Region should approach this problem together through exchange of good practices. Innovating undertakings should focus on their activity object, not on bureaucratic procedures”.
Dr. Hans Peter Herdlitschka, from the Ministry of Economics of the State of Baden-Württemberg and  EUSDR – Coordinator PA 8, also underlined the role of commpetitiveness and innovation in creating jobs and economic growth in the Danube area. “In new markets, technological excellence is not more sufficient for a high level of competitiveness. Moreover, it is often necessary to overcome barriers for both economic and social innovations. In a modern knowledge society, innovations develop in an interconnected system with multiple interactions between business, science, education and society. Human beings as bearer of knowledge are at the heart of it. It is the task of companies and regions to develop and manage their competence and knowledge strategically.”

Invited also at the event, the Secretary General of CODCR Eric Bartha,  underlined in his speech the need totarget concrete business solutions in order to establish a Knowledge- and Technology-Transfer-System in the countries of the Danube Region as a base for innovations and prosperity (knowledge is a sustainable commodity). “Policy, academia and economy must be involved in that project harmonizing the interests. Using an effective Knowledge- and Technology-Transfer, the participating enterprises – mostly SME – will increase their innovation behavior and competitiveness. Start-ups and spin-offs will come up as well. Cooperations, networks and clusters within the Danube project will deliver the additional emergence effect, which brings further success for the countries.”


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