The 6th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) that took place on 18-19 October 2017 in Budapest, jointly organised by Hungary (current Presidency of the EUSDR), the European Commission and the Danube Transnational Programme, concluded with intense discussions and future challenges in the post 2020 period.
Under the title ‘A secure, connected and prospering Danube Region’, the Forum emphasised different challenges related to energy security, transportation development, clean connectivity issues and financing opportunities.
On the first day, ministers in charge of the EUSDR adopted a joint statement setting out principles and priorities for the future – regional energy security, infrastructure development and clean connectivity, which can be boosted with an optimised use of EU funds. The plenary session on the second day was followed by DTP Capitalization Workshops, each dedicated to one of the 12 thematic poles. Main objective of the capitalization strategy is to connect projects with similar objectives and target audiences to have greater outreach and reach a critical mass of people interested in the topic.
The second day consisted of several sessions coordinated by the DTP, most of them being interactive with the objective of involving participants in some of the discussions. On the plenary session “Danube Transnational Programme contributing to the Danube Region” DTP representatives briefly presented the Programme in general, then the speakers outlined the links and potentials between the programme and the EUSDR, the benefits of transnational cooperation for the Danube region, some of the achievements gained by the programme and expected for the future, as well the capitalisation potential of programme and project results.
The DTP Capitalisation working groups gathered stakeholders in 12 groups (in accordance with the 12 Capitalisation Poles of the DTP), which were moderated by the Pole leaders with the support of the related EUSDR Priority Area Coordinators. Participants gained an insight in the Poles’ activities and could discuss experiences and ideas; thus, this session was a unique opportunity for networking and for the thematic poles to meet relevant projects, programmes, initiatives and stakeholders which could be involved in their capitalisation activities in the future.
The workshop “Present and Future of the Danube Transnational Programme” was a key platform to discuss how the prospects of the DTP are seen from four different angles (European Commission, EU and non-EU country members of the programme and a Lead partner from a DTP project). The speakers elaborated on the strengths and challenges of transnational programmes (DTP in particular), and how they add a unique value to the European community compared to other financing instruments.
Lastly, the Forum closed with a challenging debate on Macro-Regional Strategies in post 2020 context that was discussed by representatives of all 4 macro-regions and European Commission.
Presidency wheel was handed over to Bulgaria who will preside and coordinate EUSDR activities one year.
More information can be found on the offcial website of the Annual Forum.