Bulgaria Commits to Leading Role in EU Danube Strategy

Bulgaria is making a firm commitment to play a major part in the preparation and the realization of the European Commission’s initiative for a strategy for the development of the Danube Regions.

The statement was made Thursday in Brussels by Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Lilyana Pavlova.

The strategy, which is to be launched in June 2011, was one of the main topics on the agenda of the EU “Open Days” Forum. The Forum is dedicated to the future of the EU regional policies and is attended by representatives of the European Commission and of NGOs, politicians from local and regional bodies of EU Member States.

Participants in the discussion for the Danube Strategy included ministers and deputy ministers from Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, the German province of Bavaria and Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy. The strategy provides for improvement of water and road infrastructure around the river, new tourism and culture initiatives, and projects for sustainable energy resources, for water and environment management. Other initiatives include increasing the Region’s wealth and countering organized crime.

The attendees voiced their concern most countries along the Danube have been seriously affected by the economic crisis and need a coordinated strategy and partnership among themselves.

The countries included in the project are: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monte Negro, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and the Ukraine.

Pavlova told the Forum, Bulgaria is not only preparing particular projects and initiatives under the strategy, but has made the commitment to coordinate the general strategy in the tourist sector in all Danube territories and their cultural and historical heritage while Sofia will take part under the motto: “Let’s Unlock Our Potential.”

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