VIENNA, July 4, 2011
Austria’s Federal Chancellery and the Ministry of European and International Affairs organized on 4 July, in Vienna, the conference “EU Strategy for the Danube Region – New Impulses for Austria”. The event was attended by Austrian Vice-Chancellor and federal Minister of European and International Affairs Michael Spindelegger, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Teodor Baconschi, secretaries of state and officials from the Romanian and Austrian government.
In the course of the conference, Minister Teodor Baconschi met with the federal Vice-Chancellor and Minister of European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria, Michael Spindelegger. As far as the EU Strategy for the Danube Region is concerned, the two ministers welcomed the decision of the European Council on 24 June 2011 to endorse this macro-regional cooperation project, and discussed the next steps towards maintaining the European political commitment and materializing more projects at the level of local communities. Another topic they approached was the post-2013 financial perspective, in view of the publication of the Commission’s Communication of 29 June 2011, the two officials emphasizing the importance of reducing development disparities between European regions.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
We have to prove our citizens that this Strategy is a dynamic project, a successful one, and that it produces results. I shall give two examples of such projects that can be implemented in a short period of time and could have an important impact on the public opinion: a network of museums dedicated to the Danube, from Ulm and Ingolstadt to Sulina, and a network of regional stock exchange markets. Danube museums, distributed along the whole Danube, could encourage a better knowledge of the region. A regional stock exchange network would be beneficial for all communities, with a direct impact on the quality of life of our citizens.
In order to succeed, we need substantial support from the international financial institutions and our banking systems in order to finance the projects developed within the Danube Strategy. Experts from these institutions have to be included in our working groups. The alignment of funds represents a useful concept, but it is not easy to put it in practice. The difficulties generated by the multitude of financial sources for cross-border projects demonstrate that we have to be innovative and to find new approaches.