TULCEA, June 30, 2011
On 30 June 2011 the City of Tulcea played host to the Conference of the launching the implementation of the European Union’s Strategy for the Danube Region, jointly organized by the ministries forming the Coordination Council of the National Forum for the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR):
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, Ministry of Transports and Infrastructure, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, in collaboration with the “Save the Danube and Delta” Association, Tulcea County Council and the Council of Danube Cities and Regions.
The conference makes part of a series of events organized between 30 June and 1 July 2011, in Tulcea and Sulina, celebrating the Danube Day (June 29). The agenda also included a trip on Sulina arm of the Danube and participation in a Gastronomy and Eco-cultural Festival staged by the Save the Danube and Delta Association.
It was welcome the decision of the European Council from June 24, 2011 to adopt the Danube Strategy and to assume the conclusions of the General Affairs Council from April 13, 2011 regarding this macro regional strategy, following the publication of the Danube Strategy by the European Commission on December 8, 2010. There were discussed measures that should be taken for the implementation of the mechanisms within the structure of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region implementation matrix, approved by Mr. Emil Boc, Prime Minister of Romania, on March 30, 2011.
Participants at the Conference analyzed the results of the Steering Groups meetings coordinated by the Romanian side, together with other countries in the region: the navigability Group meeting (Vienna, June 21), the Group on tourism and culture (Brussels, June 22) and environmental risk management Group (Budapest, June 9).
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
The final adoption of the Danube Strategy by the European Council on 24th June 2011 is an important event for the citizens in this macro-region. We can congratulate each other, with all modesty, all those who have actively contributed to the fruition of the Strategy, because we provided the substance and the premises of a good management system.
After the vision – let’s start working. The adoption of the Strategy marks the transition to actual facts. The viability test of the Strategy is the implementation process, in which the Ministers involved have a crucial role, first of all the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism and Minister Udrea, vice-president of the National Forum for the Implementation of the Danube Strategy.
The preparations from the pre-implementation period were successfully completed. Here is a reason for hope regarding the implementation phase.
Romania is prepared for this decisive phase. Today marks three months since the official launch of the National Forum for the Implementation of the Danube Strategy, in which we want to involve all the stakeholders. The implementation cannot be limited to administration; it must be supported by academic and business environment.I wish to convene as soon as possible the first meeting of the Executive Board of the National Forum. On this occasion we will:
– Establish a special working group to assist the projects in financing
– Organize the inaugural meetings of the action groups for the Priority Areas of the Strategy at national level before the beginning of October
– Organize two economic forums, following the model of the Alba Iulia Forum, one in the West and one in East part of Romania, in order to ensure that all Romania will benefit from the opportunities offered by the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.What I want to emphasize is that we must seek and find together the best ways to implement the key projects. They will have a high and direct impact on the life of citizens.
We have already fulfilled strong partnerships with major players in the private sector and academia and we are preparing other similar partnerships. We have managed to develop tight partnerships with Austria and Baden-Württemberg, which will help us with the knowledge transfer to our regions. The Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg will make a visit to Romania in October, together with an important economic delegation. Such partnerships are being developed between Romania and Bulgaria in the field of tourism and culture and between Romania and Hungary in the environment field. The very essence of this macro-regional strategy is to promote a solid cooperation between the countries in the region on matters of common interest.
The Ministry of Interior has established a ministerial working group to develop this kind of strategy. In addition to ministries with responsibilities in this domain, are also involved the Tulcea County Council, the Delta Administration and major NGOs with a remarkable activity in this regard and Save the Danube and the Delta Association.
Romanian Minister for Regional Development and Tourism
“We are at the beginning of a long implementation road.“
First of all, I wish to say that the reason I wanted the Conference on launching the implementation of European Union Strategy for the Danube Region to take place here, in Tulcea, is not arbitrary. The very presence of us all here, in Tulcea, the last important city on the Danube course, a city guarding the gates of the Danube Delta, is a strong signal of the importance we should and want to grant this river, that bears its waters along many countries in Europe and then pours them in the Black Sea.
Also, it is not arbitrary the fact that I wanted the programme for tomorrow to be held in Sulina, because there, in 1856, came to life and was located the first European organization dedicated to the Danube, the European Commission of the Danube. This is a powerful symbol for the continuity of the European vocation of the Romanians and it is rewarded today, a century and a half later, when the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region was approved by the European Council, which took place recently, on 24th of June. We can certainly say that by this it is recognized the contribution that Romania had in the progress of the European construction.
I decided then, taking into consideration the importance of this area for our country, to address to both the colleagues in our Ministry and the colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to submit all the necessary efforts to achieve the coordination of this area. These efforts became successful when, early this year, by the voice of the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, the ministry that I lead, together with the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism have been designated to coordinate this priority area.
We are at the beginning of a long implementation road. Moreover, last week, in Brussels, took place the first meeting of this priority area steering group, which includes representatives appointed by each state participating in this initiative and representatives of relevant European organizations in this field and it is lead by two coordinators appointed by Romania and Bulgaria.
Romanian Minister for Transport and Infrastructure
In order to achieve the targets set out in the Strategy, the Minister of Transport promoted more than 30 projects of which the most important are: “The improvement of the naval conditions on the Romanian – Bulgarian sector of the Danube”, “The improvement of the naval conditions on the Danube between Calarasi and Braila”, “The modernization of the naval signalling system on the Danube-Black Sea Channel”, “The modernization of the naval signalling system on the Poarta Alba – Midia – Navodari Channel”, “The harnessing of Arges and Dambovita rivers for navigation and other purposes”, “The Danube – Bucharest Channel”.
Together with partners from Austria, we are working in this period to finalize the organization manner of the Priority Area “Inland waterways” coordination, which considers primarily:
– Identify and involve the stakeholders;
– Discuss and propose realistic and feasible targets with the European Commission officials and with other stakeholders (countries bordering the Danube River, fluvial commissions, etc.);
– Organize and update a list of projects and project ideas in the field of inland waterways;
– Support partners who have projects under way to facilitate their implementation.
In this regard, it was established a coordinating group which includes representatives from the ministries of transport of the Danube riparian states, the European Commission, the river commissions. The main role of this group is to provide opinions and recommendations for the priority area coordinators.The modernization of the Danube fleet; The investment in education & employment; The implementation of River Information Services; The improvement of the infrastructure and the management of the inland waterways; The multimodal port development and a durable transport of goods.>
Romanian Minister for Environment and Forests
“We will be very active and we urge the other Ministries to have a permanent collaboration that will allows us, in the period 2014-2020, to have projects for funding under this strategy. Now the budget for this period is being discussed at the EU level and we must fight in order to gain more money for the implementation of the Danube Strategy. For me, it is a cause of joy the fact that this strategy is now adopted. In 2008, as Minister of Development, I was among those who made the necessary arrangements at the EU level, together with the colleagues from Austria, stressing the need to create the strategy as a coherent development framework of the Danube region. In this respect, in the same year we signed cooperation agreements with Bulgaria and Hungary. Now we (the Ministers in Romania) must be consistent and assume a leading role in the implementation of the strategy, in order to make it suggestive and to achieve concrete results, through which we can ensure the development of the region”, said Minister László Borbély.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests participates in the coordination of the Priority Area 5 – Management of environmental risks and together with the Hungarian Ministry of Rural Development they are the Leading Partners of the first project mentioned as an example in the Action Plan under this priority. This is the Danube Floodrisk project, a project funded by the South East Europe Transnational Programme with a budget of approximately 6 million euro and involving 18 partners from 8 Danube countries. Also, there are 10 other projects in which the Ministry participates with a total funding of 100 million euros, the highest being 48 million, aiming to accomplish the risk maps in accordance with the Floods Directive. The Ministry of Environment and Forests participates effectively in the implementation of Priority Areas 4 and 6 (Restore and maintain the quality of waters, Preserve biodiversity, landscapes and the quality of air and soils) of the Strategy, by delegating members in the Steering Groups of these priorities.
Romanian Minister for Culture and National Heritage
It is important to note that in addition to its aesthetic value and the role played in deepening the regional identity, culture holds a primordial role in the sustainable development of the Danube region. This is actually the main goal that the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage will focus upon in the implementation of the Strategy, for the Priority Area “Culture and Tourism”, an area shared with the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism at national level and with our Bulgarian neighbors and friends at the European level. All the actions that we will perform, whether they will be theater festivals, book fairs, exchange of experts, restoration of monuments, film projects or active involvement of the younger generation, will be located in the broader context of the role that the cultural phenomenon has in the transformation of a region in a more attractive, competitive and enjoyable space for its residents.
The implementation of cultural projects from the Action Plan, established by the European Commission, is the priority axis that we will manage together with our Bulgarian colleagues and friends. I hope that this will have a major contribution in increasing the economic vitality of the Danube region and its attractiveness, whether it is the promotion of heritage, the emergence and development of creative industries, the mobility of artists in the Danube area or the digitization of cultural contents in order to ensure a wider access to the cultural phenomenon.
We are fully convinced that tourism and culture will play a decisive role in promoting a brand of the Danube region, centered on shared spiritual values and benchmarks. The cultural links already formed, both in the fields of heritage and contemporary artistic creation, will be strengthened by revitalizing the old projects and start new initiatives. The cultural phenomenon will contribute to the creation of new jobs, promote the emergence and development of local firms, and thus the objectives of the EU cohesion policy: convergence, competitiveness and, last but not least, territorial cooperation.
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Programme: Download Programme
Participants: Download the List of Participants
Speech Anca Boagiu
Speech Kelemen Hunor
Speech Lazlo Borbely
Speech Teodor Baconschi
Letter of invitation
Danube Creative Cities Network
EUSDR Danube Matrix Management System
Interview with Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions
Interview with Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture
Save Danube`s Cultural Heritage
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