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Danube Region Programme approved by the European Commission

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30-11-2022

The budget of the new Interreg Danube Region Programme is 266 million euros. It is financed by European funds and its aim is to support the development and implementation of cooperation projects contributing to the development of a more innovative, sustainable, social Danube Region and to improve regional governance for tackling shared challenges.

On 29 November 2022, the European Commission officially adopted new transnational cooperation programme for the Danube region for the period 2021-2027. The Danube Region Programme involves 9 EU countries (Austria, 2 German regions: Baden-Württemberg and Bayern, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria) and 5 non-EU countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine). In terms of the number of cooperating countries and regions, this is one of the largest Interreg programmes in this programming period.

The total budget of the programme is 266 million euros. It is financed mainly from the largest EU Cohesion Policy fund, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which will provide 213 million euros. The rest of funds comes from the participating countries.

What is Danube Region Programme about?

The newly approved programme is part of the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) also known as Interreg, which has been an important part of the EU Cohesion Policy since 1990. The intention is that EU countries jointly create projects that will help them solve shared territorial, social and economic problems. According to the Danube Region Programme Document, “creating a better institutional platform and transnational cooperation environment for the territorial, economic and social integration” is also the main mission of the Danube Region Programme.

The main focus of the new programme should be on thematic areas, which can be effectively addressed by transnational projects (e. g. depopulation, migration, economic inequalities, energy dependency, climate change). “The whole Danube space is suffering from its highly fragmented political and administrative character, which is further complicated by the extreme economic diversity of its countries and regions. The European measures for a stronger cohesion along with the accession and neighbourhood policies create a new, unique historic situation for the better integration of the Danube space,” the Programme Document reads.

All applicants for support from this programme must therefore include in the project partners from at least three countries. National, regional or local institutions, universities, research institutes, private companies, but also non-governmental organizations can participate.

Past and future of cooperation

The history of cooperation in the Danube Region started in 1997 when the first transnational programme CADSES was created. This was succeeded by the South East Europe Programme. During the previous programming period 2014-2020, the predecessor of the currently adopted Danube programme – Danube Transnational Programme, supported 143 projects worth 275 million euros.

Compared to the previous programming periods, the Danube Region Programme brings several important changes. It merges ERDF, IPA and NDICI instruments from the 2014-2020 programming period into a single one, allowing for increased flexibility and simplification. Regarding the amount of support, projects can receive a maximum co-financing rate of 80% from the ERDF for their activities.

Another novelty is that applicants from non-EU countries, participating in the Programme, are able to lead projects and not only just participate in project partnerships. In case of Ukraine, despite Russia’s ongoing aggression, participation in the Programme is possible from the entire territory.

And finally, new funding from the Danube Region Programme in the programming period 2021-2027 will support projects in one of four new programme priority areas.The first area focuses on enhancing innovation and technology transfer and building skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship. Second, the Programme focuses on actions promoting renewable energy, climate change adaptation and disaster management, improving water and sediment quality and protecting and preserving the biodiversity in ecological corridors and eco-regions. The third priority, a more social Danube Region, will address labour market and supportive education and training in terms of their accessibility, inclusiveness and effectiveness as well as exploring a more sectoral approach to socio-economic development through heritage and culture. Finally, the Programme addresses better regional governance for tackling major territorial challenges, such as demographic transformation. It also aims to support solutions to provide better public services and digitalisation.

 

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Entry created by Admin WBC-RTI.info on December 5, 2022
Modified on December 6, 2022

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