Foreign Minister Titus Corlăţean, as Executive President, chaired on 28 March, at MFA headquarters, the ministerial meeting of the National Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. At his invitation, the event was attended by: the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Public Admini
stration, Liviu Dragnea; the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Rovana Plumb; the Minister of European Funds, Eugen Orlando Teodorovici; and the Minister Delegate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Business and Tourism, Maria Grapini.
The themes approached at the National Forum were: the priorities of Romania for 2013 in implementing the Danube Strategy, also with a view to including the goals of the Strategy in the future financial framework of the EU (2014-2020), as well as preparations for the second Annual Forum of the Danube Strategy, organized by Romania jointly with the European Commission.
In his address, Minister Titus Corlăţean highlighted Romania’s priorities in 2013: developing projects of macroregional impact, securing European funds for the Strategy in the future financial framework of the EU, consolidating Romania’s profile in the context of the Strategy, and stimulating the generation of macroregional projects by organizing, in Romania, the biggest annual event of the Strategy – the Annual Forum.
Minister Titus Corlăţean invited attention to the Strategy’s importance as a project of national interest and a major political initiative of Romania at EU level. The head of Romanian diplomacy therefore showed that for the Strategy to succeed it is essential to have integrated and feasible projects generated by the actors in the Romanian public and private environment, together with partners from the other riparian states. In this connection the Minister of Foreign Affairs mentioned several projects coordinated by Romania or having a consistent Romanian participation, such as improving navigation conditions and modernizing port infrastructure, flood management, developing technology transfer centres, creating a regional research and development fund, improving vocational training. Another important project Romania initiated is the opening at Murighiol of an International Centre for the study of the Danube-Delta-Black Sea ecosystem, with European partners, the European Commission, the USA and Japan.
The Foreign Minister pointed out the need to ensure European funds for the Strategy in the future financial framework for 2014-2020, by integrating the goals of the Strategy in the Partnership Agreement to be concluded with the European Commission, as well as in the national, sectorial and transnational territorial cooperation programs. In this connection he showed that Romania and the European Commission would organize in Bucharest, on 16 and 17 April, a major meeting to map the ways of integrating the Danube Strategy in the process of scheduling European funds. All riparian states and the relevant divisions of the European Commission are to attend that meeting.
The head of Romanian diplomacy also spoke of the fact that Romania would host the main political event of the Danube Strategy, i.e. the Annual Forum, a wide-scope ministerial event which will rally, in autumn, over 800 representatives from states in the Danubian region, European institutions, local and regional authorities, the business and academic environments and civil society. The Annual Forum is organized by the Government of Romania and the European Commission.
Minister Titus Corlăţean then turned to the strategic character of the Annual Forum of the Danube Strategy: “We obviously have a very clear political goal, which is connected to the profile Romania needs to have in the European Union and we intend to organize this Forum at high standards, such as we also promoted on the occasion of other international meetings held in this country – the meetings related to the OSCE chairmanship, the NATO Summit, the Francophone Summit. I can tell you that the annual meeting of foreign ministers from the Danube region will for the first time take place in the framework of the Forum, and will set the overall political orientation for the processes and projects promoted, but at the same time the priority areas of the Strategy will be presented and represented at a sectorial level.”
Moreover, the participants in the meeting watched a video message from the European Commissioner for regional policy Johannes Hahn, who highlighted the cooperation opportunities held out by the Danube Strategy at regional level, a cooperation that is beneficial to the economic and social development of Romania.
The European official moreover said it was important to include the Danube Strategy in the future financial framework of the EU: “As we are now entering the decisive stage of preparing new programs, it is essential that macroregional strategies be integrated in the planning of the future period.”
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration, Liviu Dragnea, spoke of how important it is to develop regional projects in the Danube area, insisting on the need to correlate the goals of the Danube Strategy with national operational programs, as there are no funds set aside for the Strategy as such. To ensure that the Danube Strategy projects are financed from European funds, deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea indicated two options, either drawing up a list of strategic projects assumed by the Government, or including fields of intervention in the future national operational programs, so as to make it possible to fund the Strategy projects.
The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Rovana Plumb, mentioned the current environment projects in this area, underscoring the importance of developing the Danube Delta based on cooperation with all the relevant authorities. Moreover, Rovana Plumb expressed the intention of the Ministry of the Environment to organize a forum of the Danube on environmental and climate change matters.
The Minister of European Funds, Eugen Teodorovici, underscored the importance of identifying specific projects to be implemented in the Danube area, in view of defining the 2014-2020 financial framework. He underscored that the objectives of the Danube Strategy should be adequately reflected in the Partnership Agreement.
Attending the National Forum were Sorin Oprescu, Mayor of Bucharest, Luminiţa Odobescu, State Counselor for European Affairs to the Prime Minister of Romania, Radu Boroianu, Under Secretary of State with the Ministry of Culture, Manuel Donescu, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy, Constantin Matei, Under Secretary of State with the Ministry of Transports, Sorin Dimitriu, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bucharest, and Edward Bratfanof, Governor of the Administration of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.
The European Commission was represented by the head of the EC Representation to Bucharest, Nicolae Idu.
Also attending the National Forum were presidents of the county councils in the administrative units bordering on the Danube, i.e. Braila, Calarasi, Dolj, Giurgiu, Teleorman, Tulcea, leading representatives of the Romanian Academy, rectors and vice-rectors of several universities, civil society figures as well as representatives, at operational level, of the ministries having responsibilities in the priority areas of the Strategy. (source: www.mae.ro)
Outcomes of the event
Magazine: download here the full version
Programme: download programme
List of participants: download list of participants
EUSDR National Matrix: download here
Press release: download here