EU Strategy for the Danube Region

Romania’s Position

The main stake for Romania is staying among the main promoters of the initiative to draw up this Strategy and the inclusion of as many priority projects as possible in the Plan of Action. This calls for the Government’s involvement in the process of development of the Strategy by working out and promoting a national position based on an inter-institutional dialogue.

To this end, an Inter-Ministerial Working Group on this topic was initiated in 2008 by Government Decision and is going to be formalized in the coming period. The Group is coordinated by the Foreign Ministry and brings together representatives, at the level of Director / General Director, from the following institutions: Ministry of Transports and Infrastructure, Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, Department for European Affairs, Ministry of the Environment and Forests, Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Business Environment, Ministry of Public Finance – the Authority for Coordination of Structural Instruments, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of the Administration and Interior, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports.

The Inter-Ministerial dialogue was initiated in order to define the areas of interest and identify the proposals Romania is going to make with regard to the domains of cooperation in the future Strategy. The Group is also working on defining the positions of the domestic players, a timetable of meetings with local and international participants (the first such meeting is scheduled for 20 – 21 January 2010 in Bucharest), the launch of an information campaign through a communication plan, the drawing up of environmental studies in order to find solutions to protect riparian zones against natural disasters or cross-border pollution. Another objective is the correlation of the programmes and projects in progress in the Danube region, funded from various sources, both national and foreign, with the new investment proposals to emerge in the process of development of the Strategy and which will supplement the current priority axes. The first version of the national Strategy for the Danube is to be finalized in February 2010, serving as basis for the national contribution to be sent to the European Commission.

An important dimension of Romania’s future contribution to the development of the Strategy will be the position of the county and local public administrations, which must be informed about this opportunity through the Ministries’ decentralized services. A significant component of Romania’s contribution is also the position of civil society organizations, which should be drawn into the community dialogue. Several counties bordering the Danube, in the southern part of Romania, are amongst the least developed economically and consequently the involvement of the local authorities from that region could contribute to greater competitiveness and boost the socio-economic development of the settlements with a potential for growth.

The national coordinator in charge of representing Romania, locally and externally, in the process of development of the Strategy was appointed in October 2009. He is supported, at the level of the Foreign Ministry, by a technical secretariat formed of experts from the Foreign Ministry departments with tasks complementary to the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.

Romania considers all the three pillars of the Strategy as equally important. For that reason the programs that are going to be submitted must be based on the latest technologies, so that the Strategy be sustainable, green and innovation-based. As regards the involvement of the non-EU riparian and Danube basin states, this can be achieved by resuscitating the Danube Cooperation Process, launched by Romania and Austria in 2002.