Formally launched in 2011, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), it is one of the four macro-strategies existing at the level of the European Union, being co-initiated by Romania and Austria. It represents a mechanism of cooperation of the countries from the Danube basin for the economic, social and territorial development of the Danube macro-region.
The exercise of the EUSDR presidency by Romania, from November 1, 2018 and October 3, 2019, allowed the promotion of the themes and initiatives of interest for the Danube basin at European and regional level, as well as assumption of facilitator role of aiming at achieving consensus among Member States.
Under the motto "The Danube Region: building cohesion for a shared prosperity", Romania pursued the optimal exploitation of opportunities offered during the mandate of the EUSDR Presidency and promoted all the proposed objectives and themes for boosting the Strategy. In the context of the partial overlap of the EUSDR mandate with that of the EU Council, Romania aims to create new opportunities to revitalize the Strategy, by developing new processes of cooperation between the various actors involved in its implementation.
The Danube Cooperation Forum is a two days’ annual event held in Galati, during which government representatives, together with European officials, as well as from the administrations of regions and cities, as well as experts and academics will have the opportunity to share good practice and knowledge in regional and urban development.
The forum is also a recognized platform for dialogue on political and economic issues on the development of the Danube region and to raise decision-makers' awareness of the importance of local and regional partners in the process of EU policy making. It is also characterized by a high density of activities, being structured in thematic sessions, workshops and panels. At the same time, the event will be a platform for networking and direct contacts between participants. The Cooperation Forum in the Danube Region aims to be a working and dialogue format for the analysis of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) in order to seek, together with representatives from the academic, economic, social and political environment, the best European solutions for the challenges faced by the states in the region.
The event will give to the participants the opportunity to share their own expertise, experience, and to familiarise themselves with best practices on a range of regional themes (local and regional development, youth, resilience, energy security, environmental security, citizenship, European policies, neighbourhood policy etc.). It also encourages the dialogue with stakeholders and engages in new partnerships and joint projects that can provide solutions to regional challenges.
Synergies between the Forum and existing initiatives of Romania:
- the Forum focuses on the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), this being a priority of the Romanian Precidency of the Council of the European Union;
- the Forum aims to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion (principles explicitly mentioned in the motto of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Romanian Presidency of EUSDR);
- the Forum will discuss the EUSDR Action Plan providing a platform for presenting the vision of Romania;
- the Forum ensures continuity with Three Seas Initiative Forum, especially on the conectivity dimension;
- the Forum promotes the synergy between EUSDR and the Black Sea, which is another priority for Romania and the European Union as a global actor.
The Cooperation Forum for the Danube Region establishes the following general objectives:
- to answer to specific challenges and needs of the region in an original way. The structured dialogue may bring not only valuable experience for countries outside the EU, but also to provide a unique opportunity for the Member States or the candidate countries to cooperate with countries from outside the EU, at a macro-regional level;
- to create a platform that links people, ideas and needs, a place where nine Member States and five non-Member States shall work together for common objectives arising from research and innovation, for welfare and infrastructure, for culture and heritage. This is a necessary stage of knowledge and support at local, regional and national levels through future projects that will defy borders and restrictions and will offer citizens better prospects of their region;
- to set the priorities and the action lines for Romania in the process of EUSDR implementaton at european, macro-regional and national level;
- to identify the capacity of the macro-regional strategy to mobilize new projects and initiatives, creating a sense of shared responsibility for the main four objectives of the EUSDR: connecting the Danube region; protecting the environment in the Danube region; building prosperity and strengthening the Danube region.