The EU 27 ministers for EU affairs have given a green light to the much anticipated Danube Region Strategy, which is supposed to help uplift economically Central and Southeast Europe.
Member States' ministers for EU affairs adopted the Council's conclusions about the Region Strategy on 13 April 2011. In its meeting held in Luxembourg, the EU General Affairs Council approved the conclusions about the Danube Region Strategy developed by the Hungarian Presidency in recent months.
In response to journalists' questions, the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn said that the action plan drafted by the Commission contains over 100 possible projects. According to the Commissioner, in the upcoming period the task will be to select the first projects to be implemented from among these. "The first tangible and spectacular results are expected for next year", the Commissioner added making it clear that a marked progress in the Danube Region is expected to be seen by 2020.
One of the strategy's main aims is to reduce the economic discrepancies and ease the communication between the 14 nations: Germany (Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria), Austria, the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine (the regions along the Danube). Eight are Member States of the EU and six are not.
Together, the Danube region accounts for as much as 20% of the total EU territory and has 115 million citizens. It includes as well the poorest countries in EU (Bulgaria and Romania) as Austria and Germany.
Among the key areas in which the Danube strategy is focused on are tourism, transport, ecology, economical and social development. /Source: Sofia News Agency/