EUSDR-initiative - Prosperity through diversity

The EU Strategy for the Danube Region has significantly improved cross-border exchange and influenced transnational problem solving in a positive and sustainable way.

Die Donau fließt durch eine hügelige Landschaft

Europe and its regions are in a time of transition and the Danube Region faces challenges beyond borders that affect the lives of over 115 million people. Solutions for large-scale challenges like climate change, unemployment, demographic change or lack of connectivity need to be coordinated across borders, jointly and with mutual interest, to unlock the full potential of the Region, from the source of the Danube in the Black Forest to its mouth in the Black Sea.

To this end, the countries in the Danube basin came together in 2010 and established the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). In total, 9 EU member states (Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary) and 5 non-EU member states (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine) are participating in the Strategy. Together, the 14 countries aim to protect nature and people, to build and maintain this prosperous region with a healthy environment, equal societies and high living standards.

By integrating national and regional policies, the EUSDR provides an excellent framework to strengthen transnational cooperation in the fields of mobility and transport, energy, tourism and culture, protection of water, nature and biodiversity, education and labour market, competitiveness, strengthening of institutional cooperation and security. It does so by promoting long-term cooperation between policy-makers, public administration, the social partners, research institutions, universities, NGOs, businesses, and international and local institutions in the Danube region and by acting as a contact point for EU, national and regional funding for the implementation of projects. In addition, the EUSDR contributes significantly to integration linked to the EU Enlargement and EU Neighbourhood policy. More information on the strategy, as well as a selection of activities in each Priority Area, can be found in the interactive brochure published to mark the 10th anniversary of the EUSDR:

Brochure "EU Strategy for the Danube Region - Stories that make us"

Year of the youth: Danube Youth Council

One of the 5 strategic objectives of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region is "Enhancing Democracy, sound Administration and strong Involvement of Civil Society and Youth". Further, the EU declared 2022 the European Year of Youth.

Against this background, the EUSDR has initiated the establishment of a Danube Youth Council (DYC). This council will be founded in 2022 and consist of 2 representatives aged 18 to 29 years per Danube Region country. The DYC will advise the national and thematic coordinators of the 14 Danube countries, in order to guarantee the perspective of young people in the development of measures and projects in the Danube Region. The Danube Youth Council is promoted by the European Commission and the City of Vienna and supported and supervised by the Danube Strategy Point, the secretariat of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, based in the City of Vienna and Bucharest.

The members of the Youth Council will have the opportunity to

  • propose concrete actions and projects and suggest topics,
  • bring ideas to the attention of high-level politicians from EUSDR states and regions,
  • contribute to the EUSDR priorities and policies,
  • raise attention for the special features of their regions at the transnational level,
  • participate in all youth activities of EUSDR and
  • participate in EUSDR events as well as international and EU related youth events.

Until 15 August 2022, young people between 18 and 29 years from all Danube countries were invited to apply for the Danube Youth Council. 2 members per country were selected at random from all qualified applications.

Major role of Vienna

The City of Vienna has played a major role in the establishment of the EUSDR and is thus one of the pioneers of the strategy. It is particularly active in the priority area of "Institutional Capacity and Cooperation" and attaches major emphasis to improving the efficiency and transparency of public administration at all levels, promoting the involvement of local stakeholders and civil society, and ensuring funding options for the strategy.

Furthermore, the City of Vienna and the Romanian Ministry for Regional Development have run the Danube Strategy Point (DSP) since 2018. The DSP is the central, strategic contact point to support key stakeholders in the Danube region, particularly the National and Priority Area Coordinators and the EU Commission. The DSP contributes significantly to the implementation of the EUSDR.

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