The large area of the Danube Region is exposed to organised crime, corruption and terrorism, which can seriously affect the security and safety of a large number of inhabitants. In addition, new challenges have come to light starting 2014, for example those relating to migration flows and the global security and terrorism. Stability in general, and security in particular are among the most important prerequisites for the overall development of the society.
As society evolved and became more and more sophisticated, the threats for individuals and communities diversified. Consequently, the measures for tackling such emerging issues became more complex and required enhanced transnational and cross-institutional cooperation. Cyber-security is only one relevant example whose importance grew progressively during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the EUSDR, Priority Area 11 – Security, jointly coordinated by Bulgaria and Germany (Bavaria), has conducted activities to develop strategic long-term cooperation among actors along the Danube in order to counteract negative phenomena, such as terrorism. It addressed both the decision-makers and experts to facilitate the development of joint solutions across borders.
During the Ministerial Conference on Combating Terrorism in the Danube Region held in Sofia in 2016, the responsible bodies for home affairs in the Danubian countries reiterated their commitment to further develop cooperation in areas related to terrorism prevention, such as cyber security, counteracting terrorist propaganda and recruitment of terrorists, and building common preventive capacities. In the same year, experts from Bulgaria, Germany, Moldova, Romania, Europol, the Danube Commission and the Regional Cooperation Council explored potential joint actions of the police authorities to prevent terrorism threats.
Through the implementation of the project Cybersecurity in the Danube Region (2015-2016), the cooperation among national Computer Security Incident Response Teams in the Danube Region was further strengthened, creating the premises to better protect people and institutions against possible attacks.
The most recent activity developed by PA 11 was to organise a seminar on hybrid threats (April 2021), where the participants decided to develop a network in order to share information and best practice and to take measures to ensure resilience by addressing strategic and critical issues (cybersecurity, countering organized crime, critical infrastructure, combatting violent extremism, information security etc.).
In the future, PA 11 will continue to tackle the security challenges at macro-regional level, proposing cross-cutting and trans-sectorial activities that aim at making the best use of all types of resources (human, intelligence). If information from this field of activity is not easily available, the successful work of the security and safety structures is visible as they ensure stability through crisis prevention, effective response and recovery measures.