The Hungarian leadership of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) Water Quality and Environmental Risks Priority Areas held its Second Stakeholder Seminar in Budapest on 19-20 November 2015 paying special attention to the issue of funding possibilities. The event provided a comprehensive cooperation platform and offered an opportunity for alignment of funding with cohesion policy instruments and other potential sources specifically for water stakeholders.

Dozens of water management projects aiming at engaging international partners as well as development ideas of water management bodies of each country were presented by 162 participants and 42 speakers from 11 countries in Budapest. The European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and the newly set up Danube Strategy Point representatives were present, similarly to several international water organizations and water experts from Danube countries. 

Mr István JOÓ, the host Hungarian Danube Region Strategy Ministerial Commissioner stressed that issues such as water quality or flood protection cannot be treated efficiently at national level and the success of the regional approach is clearly reflected by the improved water quality of Danube River. Hungary is coordinating the Danube regional cooperation and helping the non-EU member States integration efforts on areas of particular importance – such as energy, water quality or flood protection.

The Seminar’s keynote speakers emphasised that five years after the launch of the EUSDR the integration is strengthened among EU and non-EU countries and the Danube Transnational Programme has been launched with about 263 million euros grant. Mr Matija VILFAN, Head of the Danube Strategy Point, who chaired the first session pointed out that cooperation between the Danube Countries has entered into a new phase, meaning a more policy oriented debate and more focus on funding opportunities. Mr Marco ONIDA, Team Leader of the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy reminded that countries still face challenges, better promotion of innovation, business support in water management, and stronger cooperation between countries is required. Adequate strategic planning is requested from Danube countries and the focus has to be put on the results to be in line with Europe2020 Strategy and beside joint cooperation more efficient use of funds is requested.

Following the keynote speeches of Hungarian, Slovakian and Romanian national coordinators and representatives the Water Quality and Environmental Risks Priority Area Coordinators of the Danube Strategy presented their state of play, followed by presentations of the Joint Research Centre and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), focusing on science, policy and programme of measures 2015-2021.

In the second session the participants had a possibility to learn about the financial possibilities in the current programming period and were offered presentations about many programmes, such as about the key features and opportunities of Financial Instruments under ESI Funds 2014-2020, about Horizon 2020, the LIFE Programme, the Central Europe Programme, the Danube Transnational Programme, the Cross Border Cooperation Programs and the financing possibilities within the European Investment Bank.

In the third session of the first day successful project examples and best water sector practices were demonstrated (such as Watlife, URBAN_WFTP,  SEE River and  FLOODRISK projects) and experienced speakers shared their views about how to establish water consortium for projects in the new calls.  

The 2nd day offered the possibility for partner search process: focused presentations were shared with the audience from Austria, Czech Republic, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary presenting country needs and assists in the alignment of funding procedure for future project beneficiaries by promoting further project ideas. Representatives of EIP Water Secretariat, the European Water Association and the Global Water Partnership shared their views on successful project set ups for water. Based on prefilled networking templates participants could take the floor to present their project ideas and networking needs in front of the plenary.

Finally, as a closing event the conference provided a unique platform for networking in four different sessions with experienced moderators: 1. Water scarcity, regional drought management; 2. Water security, regional safety centres, floods; 3. Water quality innovations and 4. Water management: fisheries, resource efficient water management, groundwater. The importance of cross-region cooperation and project development have been repeatedly mentioned; specific cooperation options have been explored, such as sharing best available practices in using innovations and the need to create special calls for bringing innovation on the market. The networking sessions proved to be a success, participants expressing strong interest in follow up events and  further assistance from the Danube Strategy in the alignment of funding that could result in joint projects.

More info: http://www.danubewaterquality.eu/stakeholder-2015

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Danube Competence Center (DCC)

in cooperation with the Danube Strategy Point of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR)  Priority Area 3 “To promote culture, tourism and people-to-people contact”, the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia (NTO)  with the support of  the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) project „Regional program to strengthen the cross border tourism at the Middle and Lower Danube“ and the Regional Development Agency of Bačka

are cordially inviting you to the panel discussion

“Living the future on the Danube”

SMART Growth – Is tourism an answer for economic challenges in the Danube region?

 

Monday,  7 December 2015, 18h30 – 22h30

Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the European Union, Rue Belliard 60-62, Brussels

 

18h30 Aperitif

19h00 Welcome address by Matija Vilfan, Head of the Danube Strategy Point

           Panel discussion with contributions by

           Michael Cramer MEP, Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parliament

           Carlo Corazza, Head of Unit "Tourism, Creative and Emerging Industries", DG GROW, EC

           Marek Przeor, Team Leader “Smart and Sustainable Growth”, DG Regional and Urban Policy, EC

           Gordana Plamenac, Chairman of the Board of Directors, DCC, Belgrade, Serbia

           Helge Grammerstorf, Chairman of the IG River Cruise, Basel, Switzerland

The panel discussion will be followed by a reception.

The panel discussion will highlight the main tourism development issues of the Danube region and how they are interlinked with other spheres important for strengthening and connecting the Danube region.  The panelists will point out topics such as SMART Specialization agenda along the Danube, labour mobility, accessibility and territorial identity of the region.

The National Tourism Organisation of Serbia as the founding member of the DCC and contributor to EUSDR PA3 “To promote culture, tourism and people-to-people contact” will use the opportunity to show the promotional film as  part of its thematic campaign for 2016 “Danube Serbia – 588 impressions”, created with the support of Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the DCC.

Please confirm your participation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by sending your name and organization. (Please note that due to the current high security level in Brussels, ID cards will be checked at the reception.)

Find more information about the DCC at www.danubecc.org  and www.danube.travel or download our portfolio from:  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8VCv_o91WPbcExMeXpJWEM5Tmc/edit

 

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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

for Internships at the Danube Strategy Point in Brussels 


Update 29/06/2016: Applications for 2016 are closed - all internship positions have been filled until the end of the year

The Danube Strategy Point (DSP) has been established in 2015 by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission and the State of Baden-Württemberg, which is hosting the DSP in its offices in Brussels. Our main mission is improving the implementation process of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) and enhancing and strengthening the cooperation and interaction between various stakeholders in the region, including 9 EU member states and 5 non-member countries.  

The internship training period involves gaining work experience at the DSP where interns can put into practice the knowledge they have acquired during their studies. Interns will be under the supervision of the Head of theDSP or an assigned Senior Officer. Daily responsibilities will depend on the individual’s background, involving carrying out desktop research as well as contributing to organisational tasks.

Selection criteria: Interested applicants from the 14 programme countries of the Danube Strategy are invited to apply. The internship programme is open to students who are enrolled at higher education institution or other graduate programme preferably with specialization in an area relevant to the work of the organisation. The working language of the DSP is English, but knowledge of additional languages of the Danube region would be an advantage.

Please note that applicants from non-EU countries will have to apply for a type-B work permit (more information available here).

Envisaged starting date: January 2016 / April 2016 / September 2016

Duration period: 3 months

Allowances: A contribution of EUR 450 per month towards living costs will be paid by the DSP. Applicants who lived outside of Belgium in the past 6 months will be eligible for reimbursement of a return ticket between the place of internship and their country of residence.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.


 

Joint Statement of Ulm on the EU Strategy for the Danube Region

Ulm, 29 October 2015


On the margins of the 4th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), Ministers in charge of EU Funds, European Affairs or European Integration from the participating States and Regions and the European Commissioner for Regional Policy gathered in Ulm and agreed on the following joint statement.

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 Photo credits: Grasshopper Films/ Eva Oswald

"Building up on the positive experience of previous meetings of line ministers, the participants welcomed this ministerial meeting focusing on the link between the EUSDR and different programmes and funds. They agreed that full-fledged ownership of the EUSDR, based on the commitments made by the participating countries, requires active engagement of all relevant ministers to align policies and funding with the Strategy.

Currently the Danube Region countries’ average GDP per capita only reaches about two‐thirds of the level of the EU 28 Member States and less than 60% of the level of the OECD countries. In addition, there are major development disparities within the Danube Region, which hinder social, economic and territorial cohesion. The development of sustainable initiatives, projects and investments, especially in less developed regions, is a key factor in stimulating economic growth. European, national and regional funds play a crucial role in supporting the necessary investments in infrastructure, economic development, human capital and strengthening institutional and administrative capacity.

Ministers reiterated that the success of the EUSDR implementation requires the alignment of relevant programmes and use of these EU Funds in line with the EUSDR Priority Areas and targets.

Ministers welcomed the new opportunities, requirements and obligations laid down in the Cohesion Policy regulations and took note of the chances to use funds in a better and more efficient manner. Recalling the two “Joint technical Meetings of the EUSDR in the programming process for 2014-2020” of April 2013 in Bucharest and of June 2013 in Stuttgart on embedding the EUSDR in the Partnership Agreements and 2014 – 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Programmes and the equivalent instruments for non-EU countries (notably the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, and the European Neighbourhood Instrument), Ministers agreed that it is now vital to put into practice the provisions set out in the programming documents wherever appropriate and committed themselves to do so.

Ministers emphasised that EUSDR countries should put all efforts in using other possible funding sources on national, regional or local level and called upon the European Commission to further enable stronger synergies between EU Macro-Regional Strategies, regional multilateral agreements and EU Programmes directly managed by the European Commission such as Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Creative Europe, COSME, LIFE, CEF and the EU Fund for Strategic Investments.

Ministers agreed that the link between the European Territorial Cooperation Programmes (known as Interreg) and the EUSDR is crucial. These Programmes play an important role in fostering territorial cooperation in the Danube Region and in developing new transnational and cross-border projects. By including non-EU Countries, they can also contribute to enhance cohesion and cooperation and foster economic development and European integration within the Danube Region. In this respect, Ministers welcomed the recent adoption of the Danube Transnational Programme by the European Commission. At the same time the role of the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programmes in the Danube Region needs to be more emphasized and promoted where appropriate.

Ministers also acknowledged that enhanced cooperation and coordination generate significant benefits to all interested parties. They call upon the European Commission and the National Coordinators, supported by the Danube Strategy Point, to provide an effective coordination and facilitate communication and information exchange with organisations responsible for the management of the different EU funds and programmes to the benefit of all EUSDR actors, using also synergies with other regional agreements. In this respect, Ministers highlighted the increasing cooperation between the Monitoring Committee of the Danube Transnational Programme and the EUSDR governance structures. This kind of cooperation should also be explored and appropriately developed in relation to country-specific Operational Programmes.

Ministers highlighted possible options that could further facilitate the embedding of the EUSDR into the 2014 – 2020 ESIF Operational and Cooperation Programmes and the equivalent instruments for non-EU countries where appropriate and within the scope and provisions of the existing Regulations and Operational and Cooperation Programmes. Ministers took note of pilot exercises in this field already undertaken by certain countries in cooperation with the European Commission.

Ministers stressed the importance of the ongoing exchange of information about successfully implemented mechanisms and good practices of the smart use of various regional, national and EU funding possibilities for relevant EUSDR projects. In this regard, they agreed to take further steps to:

  • Improve the exchange of information: Transparent and timely communication and exchange of information between the actors managing the ESIF Programmes and the equivalent instruments for non-EU countries, and those in charge of the EUSDR implementation (National Coordinators, Priority Area Coordinators, Steering Group Members) is vital in building trust and represents a basis for new partnerships and also more effective cooperation. In order to create synergies between financed projects and that they build upon each other, it is necessary to ensure exchange of information on projects financed in different countries and from different instruments. In this respect, the permanent strategic advisory role of the European Commission is crucial.
  • Enhance coordination: Coordination between the relevant ESIF Operational and Cooperation Programmes and the equivalent instruments for non-EU countries and EUSDR actors is of essential importance. EUSDR actors have an overview of the targets of the Strategy and may advise on projects contributing to theachievement of these targets. Where appropriate Managing Authorities, National Coordinators, Priority Area Coordinators and Steering Group Members should identify ways to enable ongoing coordination, e.g. by involving them into Monitoring Committees, by setting up dedicated coordination meetings or by using synergies with existing mechanisms. National coordination mechanisms are crucial in this respect and have to take the respective context into consideration. The European Commission and the Danube Strategy Point should play an active role in supporting this coordination and cooperation processes.
  • Streamline project selection: Within the applicable legal framework and where appropriate, the 2014-20 ESIF Programmes can use part of the funds to co-finance actions or projects of macro-regional scope and interest (e.g. by stimulating the inclusion of a specific work package for cooperation activities). Where appropriate, Managing Authorities and Monitoring Committees should, in cooperation with the relevant EUSDR actors, develop and apply specific project selection criteria recognising the added value of macro-regional projects and their contribution to the EUSDR Priority Areas and targets. Furthermore, appropriate calls may foresee – inter alia – the allocation of bonus points to projects contributing to the implementation of the EUSDR targets and actions.
  • Consider EUSDR related calls: Ministers take note of examples of Operational Programmes which have ear-marked a certain percentage of their funds for actions which may have a macro-regional impact. Where relevant, such calls aim at allocating funds in a well-targeted manner through specific calls for EUSDR projects within Priority Axis of Operational Programmes or to a duly justified limited geographical perimeter.
  • Facilitate exchange of experience and development of joint solutions within the Danube Region: There are different options for programmes and EUSDR actors to share experiences and to jointly develop new solutions for a better administration and use of funds. In this respect, the new Interreg Europe Programme (former INTERREG IV C), which is mainly targeted at Managing Authorities, helps to enhance the implementation of regional development policies and programmes.

In conclusion, Ministers called upon all interested parties to join efforts and continue to ensure progress in the implementation process of the EUSDR by identifying and promoting suitable projects that can add value for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Danube Region."

 

Study by Daniel Měsíc, EU Energy and Climate Policy Expert, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic (PA2)

"The gas crises in 2006 and 2009 hit hard, not because of the lack of supply, but because of the lack of infrastructure. These crises, and the profound changes on the global gas market, call for measures to be undertaken now in Central and Eastern Europe. Development of infrastructure is needed in order to strengthen Europe’s energy security, and to be able to benefit from expanding western liquid markets, and beyond this, potentially from LNG supplies from overseas. Among the actions to be undertaken, the so called bi-directional connections (BDICs) play a key role."

 

 

Read the full article in the Central Europe Energy Partners Report No.7/2015 on page 10-11.

 

DSP to align Danube Transnational Programme and EUSDR

A two day kick-off event of the Danube Transnational Programme (DTP) took place in Budapest on 23-24 September. With the aim to achieve a higher degree of territorial cohesion of the very heterogeneous Danube region, the DTP has been launched by  DG Regio of the European Commission as a financing instrument to deliver tangible results. Covering 14 countries in the Danube area it will support policy integration while promoting concrete pilot investments to unlock the full potential of the region. With a total combined budget of nearly EUR 222 million, it uses ERDF and IPA resources  to support projects in four Priority Axes: (1) Innovation and social responsibility, (2) Environment and culture, (3) Better connections and energy, and (4)  Governance.  

Matija Vilfan Head of the Danube Strategy Point attended the meeting to ensure stronger coordination and long-term synergies with the broader EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). In the coming year the DSP will aim to bring together a large number of stakeholders and potential project partners to facilitate the success of the Strategy. Given the close alignment of the DTP and the EUSDR, projects financed by the DTP will link to the relevant EUSDR Priority Areas and specific targets, contributing to the successful embedding thereof.

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Find out more about the Danube Transnational Cooperation Programme here.

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Final Conference “SHARED COMPETENCES AND INCREASING EXPERTISE IN INTEGRATED HSs MANAGEMENT and Stakeholders Meeting of the project “Integrated hotspots management and saving the living Black Sea ecosystem – HOT BLACK SEA”, MIS-ETC 2303 (http://www.bs-hotspots.eu/), hosted by the Burgas Municipality.

The meeting will take place on 30 September, 2015 at 9:30, Primoretz Hotel, Burgas, Bulgaria.

The overall objective of the project Hot Black Sea was to set up initiatives that will help improve the protection of the Black Sea environment. Specifically the Project dealt with land-based sources of pollution and hot spots data base.

The objective of the Final Stakeholders Meeting is to present and discuss the Project’s major achievements as well as to raise the awareness of stakeholders on the produced deliverables. 

The summary of the project, draft agenda of the event and registration form are enclosed. If you are considering to attend, may we kindly ask you to send back the filled registration form at your earliest convenience, but not later than 18.09.2015. In case you would like us to invite another delegate of your organization instead of you, please urgently provide us with names (including title and contacts).

For any further information, please contact Ms. Velichka Velikova (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

AGENDA  
                   
Venue: Primoretz hotel
Time: 09:30 - 17:15            
OPENING SESSION
09:30 - 10:00 Registration          
10:00 - 10:10 Opening of themeeting, welcoming remarks    
    Atanaska Nikolova, Deputy Mayor, Burgas Municipality
10:10 - 10:20 Welcome  Speeches, setting the scene      
    Ivelina Vasileva, Minister, Ministry of Environment and Water (TBC)
    Laura Alecu, Project Leader, Romania,    
    Laura Bobarnac, Programme Manager, JMA,JOP Black Sea Basin
TEMATIC SESSION 1: CHALENGES AND PRIORITIES IN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AT NATIONAL LEVEL
10:20 – 10:45 The Black Sea Basin ENI CBC Programme 2014-2020  
   Laura Bobaranac, Deputy Head of JMA, Romania  
10:45 – 11:00 The Black Sea Basin ENI CBC Programme 2014-2020  
MRRB, NMA, Bulgaria
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break          
11:30 - 11:50 Burgas MunicipalityPolicy in Environmental Protection  
    Atanaska Nikolova, Deputy Mayor, Burgas Municipality
11:50 - 12:10 Black Sea Land-based Sources of Pollution and Hot Spots in Bulgaria
    Kalinka Kamenova,  Black Sea Basin Directorate  
12:10 - 12:30 Intercalibration of the Black Sea benthic invertebrate fauna ecological assessment methods under the Water Framework Directive
    Valentina Todorova, IO-BAS, Varna    
12:30 - 13:00 Questions and Discussion        
13:00 Closure of ThematicSession 1        
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch            
TEMATIC SESSION 2: THE PROJECT 'HOT BLACK SEA" 
14:00 - 14:20 Achievements of the HOT BLАCK SEА Project: Results and Deliverables 
    Andrea Voina, Bucharest, Romania    
14:20 - 14:50 Hot Spots Methodology: general information    
    Volodimir Bruk, Odessa State Environmental University, Ukraine
14:50 - 15:20 Hot Spots Regional Data Base and Requirements in Data Input
    Violeta Velikova, SurDEP, Varna, Bulgaria  
15:20 - 15:50 Questions and Discussion        
15:50 Closure of Thematic Session 2        
15:50 - 16:10 Coffee break          
TEMATIC SESSION 3:  COOPERATION IN THE BLACK SEA REGION
16:10 - 16:30 Projects dealing with Black Sea - related programmes of measures in Bulgaria - results
    Stela Barova,  Black Sea BasinDirectorate, Bulgaria
16:30 - 16:50 Presentation          
    Marusya Lubcheva (TBC)      
16:50 - 17:15 Questions and Discussion        
17:15 Closure of Conference        
Attachments:
Download this file (Agenda.docx)Agenda.docx[ ]1084 kB
Download this file (RegForm-ENG.doc)Registration form[ ]159 kB
Download this file (SUMMARY.docx)Project summary[ ]1081 kB

As one of the coordinators of EUSDR Priority Area 7 (Knowledge Society: Research, Education and ICT) the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic (MESR) was mandated by the European Commission to issue and execute the tender for a feasibility study for the Danube Region Research and Innovation Fund (DRRIF).

The main objective of the study was the analyses of possibilities to support research and innovation activities in the Danube Region. The study also includes information on absorption capacities of research and development in the Danube area, potential cooperation of the Danube countries with existing grant schemes and analysis of potential research priorities in the region. It is a basis for further acceleration of cooperation of the Danube countries in the area of research and innovation.

The study has been prepared by EY Slovakia, supported by MESR and the DRIIF Working Group of Priority Area 7.

 

2nd Danube Innovation Partnership (DIP) Summer School on IP Commercialisation and Technology Transfer

"Working Together on Academic IP Commercialization in the Region"

This event organised by the JRC targets professionals with experience in intellectual property management and technology transfer, and is organised in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organisation, The National Research, Development and Innovation Office of Hungary, the Intellectual Property Office of Hungary, Semmelweiss University and the University of Debrecen.

It will train participants in topics related to: IP Marketing, IP Valuation, IP Licensing, IP Commercialisation for start-ups and Dispute Resolution.

Deatailed programme and application form can be found here.

Application deadline: 21 August 2015

Danube Strategy Research Network Workshop for PhD and Master students

Scientific side event of the EUSDR Annual Forum in Ulm 28–31 October 2015

The workshops supports PhD and Master students to advance their empirical dissertations and Master thesis on macro-regional strategies. The project has an interdisciplinary approach with a small group of experts. It offers a platform of exchange on theory and empirical enquiry.

Find out more in the attached Call for Workshop.

Application deadline: 31 August 2015

Attachments:
Download this file (Call_Workshop_DSRN.pdf)Call_Workshop_DSRN.pdf[ ]59 kB

On Wednesday 15th July the Danube Strategy Point was officially opened in Brussels by Walter Deffaa, Director-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission.

On the occasion, Peter Friedrich, Minister for the Bundesrat, Europe and International Affairs of Baden-Württemberg stated: "We are convinced that the EU's regional and neighborhood policy contributes significantly to stabilizing our continent, for the dissemination of "good governance" and to improve the living conditions of Europeans. We support these policies with full conviction and this is why we are one of the engines of the Danube Strategy. I am very pleased that we got the chance to host the DSP in the Representation of Baden-Württemberg in Brussels as a focal point for all stakeholders in the whole Danube region."

Matija Vilfan, Head of the DSP thanked the representatives of Baden-Württemberg for the excellent co-operation and set out the goals of the organization for the coming period: "The Danube Strategy Point is a joint venture of all stakeholders of the EUSDR from which each and all of them can only benefit. With our four main principles: efficiency, transparency, competence and inclusiveness the DSP team firmly believes to successfully implement its work plan. Our main objectives are likewise clear: coordination of EUSDR implementation, disseminating information, expert monitoring and evaluation, and linking the Strategy with the Danube Transnational Programme and other macro-regional strategies.We believe that this official opening marks the beginning of our joint, successful and long-term venture.”

Find more photos from the event here.

Get in touch with the DSP here.