János Martonyi, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, announced in Budapest that the participating states agreed on the coordination of the Danube Region Strategy’s priority areas. According to the Hungarian Presidency, this decision is a milestone in the implementation of the Strategy.
Eleven people were appointed to coordinate the same number of priority areas within the Danube Region Strategy. At least two countries will be responsible for the implementation of each goal. According to alist published on the European Commission’s website, every member state will be responsible for the fulfilment of at least one priority, with non-EU countries also playing an active role.
The EU Danube Region Strategy is a macro-regional development strategy and action plan for the regions and countries in the Danube’s catchment area. It is aimed both at a sustainable development of the Danube macro-region and at the protection of its natural areas, landscapes and cultural heritage. At the request of the European Council, the European Commission submitted a proposal for the Danube Region Strategy in December 2010. The approval is a primary objective for the Hungarian Presidency in 2011.
János Martonyi told the Budapest press conference that the appointment of the coordinators is a milestone in launching the Danube Region Strategy. Its definitive version is expected at the European Council’s June 2011 session subject to approval by heads of state and government. The Presidency intends to prepare everything in parallel with the adoption process, so that implementation can start immediately when the Polish Presidency takes over.
Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, reported that the social consultation received an exceptional number of contributions, approximately 800, and the Commission made efforts to include them in its proposal. Thus the Commissioner is hopeful that the European Council will approve the original proposal of the Commission.
Hungary will support the states located in the area to become attractive destinations for foreign investments. Capital inflow becomes a priority for the European Union mainly in strategic areas, such as energy, transport and production. Hungary aims to implement these objectives in a highly regional approach, for example with the involvement of the West Balkan countries, explained Mr Martonyi to stress the role that the Strategy plays in integration.
“The Danube Region Strategy is a symbol of Central Europe, being a symbol of what we dreamed about”, said Mr Martonyi. He added, that “the European Union is not a fortress, but an adoptive type of integration. We also pay attention to those who will be members at a later stage.”
“The Strategy brings a new and ambitious dimension in the region’s cooperation”, Mr Hahn highlighted. The Commissioner said “the coordinators will immediately start preparing the Strategy’s implementation. They will identify the measures that are urgently needed for reviving the region and exploring its full economic potential”.