News archive - Danube River Countries Head Towards Closer Cooperation

With over 200 million inhabitants, the states which border the Danube represent an important socio-economic potential within Europe. There are around 75 million people living in the regions directly alongside the Danube or crossed by the river that links Western and South Eastern Europe. A European Danube Strategy, linking the regions both in the EU and beyond, is currently being elaborated. 

On October 6-7, 2008, a first conference entitled “The Danube – River of the European Future” took place in Brussels, bringing together more than 1000 delegates from the fields of politics, administration and economy of the states, regions and cities along the Danube as well as representatives of the European institutions.

Participants discussed possibilities for strategic transnational cooperation in the region, similar to the already established initiatives between the Mediterranean or Baltic Sea countries.

The presidents, ministers, members of parliament, secretaries of state, regional politicians and mayors from the Danube states agreed on the following main objectives:
• to strengthen the function of the Danube region as the “Blue Riband” of European integration;
• to focus on future inter-regional cooperation on areas with European added value; and
• to enhance the visibility at EU level through concrete signs of political action by the Danube countries.

The Danube Strategy - Strategic Cooperation Beyond EU Borders

The ideas developed at the conference were elevated to governmental level at the Ulm summit on May 6, 2009. At the summit of Member States’ leaders in Brussels on June 17-18, 2009, the green light was given to the preparation of the European Danube Strategy. December 2010 was set as the deadline for completion.

It is expected theat the plan for regional cooperation among six EU and four non-EU countries - Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova - will highlight such topics as navigation on the Danube, environmental issues and cultural diversity.

Next “Danube Summit” to be held in Budapest next March

Meanwhile, Hungary's Foreign Minister Péter Balázs announced that the next Danube Summit will take place in Budapest in March 2010. The precise date is yet to be announced. The Danube Strategy is expected to be officially adopted during the 2011 Hungarian EU presidency


Sources and further information: 

Geographical focus
  • Croatia
  • International; Other
  • Serbia

Entry created by Katarina Rohsmann on November 20, 2009
Modified on November 20, 2009