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. Thematic Pole 11 workshop, Participatory and Local Governance, that is closely connected with the targets of the Priority Area 10 of the EUSDR, discussed a problem of measuring participatory governance. A problem of collecting evidence is one of the main bottlenecks. The workshop was led by pole leader Blaž Barborič, that is managing Attractive Danube project, followed by AgriGo4Cities and RARE project representatives and a key note speaker dr. Janez Nared from Anton Melik Geographical Institute, who shared rich experiences from their various projects. Priority Area 10 coordinators together gave an input on how to build inclusive approaches as well as they briefly reported on their activities. In the scope of Funding opportunities for the pillars of the EUSDR, Priority Area 10 collaborated in presenting financial prospects for the Pillar IV, Well-Governed Danube Region.
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.