On 24 and 25 October 2023, the 12th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) was held in Brdo pri Kranju (Slovenia) and online, jointly organised by the Slovenian EUSDR Presidency and the Danube Strategy Point with support from the European Commission and the Danube Region Programme.
Acting as a promoter and facilitator of macro-regional cooperation between all countries and all macro-regional strategies, the Slovenian EUSDR Presidency focused on empowering involvement in the EUSDR, improving the strategic governance of EUSDR and macro-regional strategies, involving youth in the EUSDR and the embedding process. Knowledge society and transport and energy challenges in the Danube Region were the thematic priorities of the Slovenian Presidency, which were approached in specific documents and events developed over the last year.
All these priorities were highly reflected in the agenda of the Annual Forum and about 350 people interested in these particular topics joined the 2-day event.
The political level was represented at the highest level during the Meeting of Ministers responsible for the EUSDR, where a Joint Statement was adopted. The ministers responsible for the implementation of the EUSDR condemns in the strongest terms the continuation of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine and addresses issues such as energy challenges, improving the transport infrastructure of the Danube Region, the European Green Deal, EU enlargement, youth involvement and stakeholder engagement in the EUSDR.
A specific session was dedicated to the Danube Youth Council and POPRI representatives, exploring the situation of young people in the Danube Region, the manifold challenges they are confronted with, as well as possible ways to tackle these challenges.
After the Official Opening of the 12th EUSDR Annual Forum and the high-level plenary panel, where ministers from the Danube Region countries highlighted the role of the EUSDR and the importance of regional cooperation for connecting people, economic developments, promoting stability and security, thematic session were organised highlighting the priorities of the EUSDR Slovenian Presidency.
Two sessions were dedicated to the Danube Region Programme, focusing on the upcoming 2nd call for proposals (open from 2 November 2023 until 29 March 2024) and exploring the perspectives of new beginnings: a new Danube Region Programme (DRP), with beneficial changes for the non-EU countries, as well as of reaching a new ‘momentum’ in the accession challenge.
The handover ceremony of EUSDR Presidency from Slovenia to Austria was followed by a concert offered by the “Music for the Future” Orchestra, which unites young Ukrainian and Slovenian musicians in a story of a social project fuelled by the superpower of music.
The support for recovery and transformation in Ukraine, together with the support for the EU accession, knowledge-driven society, mobility and multimodality, enhancing hydrogen economy in the Danube Region, current and forthcoming water challenge, strategic planning and funding were thematic session that gathered around EUSDR Priority Area Coordinators, experts, academia, public administration, project implementers, civil society representatives.
Enjoy reading the comprehensive Report of the 12th EUSDR Annual Forum!
Photos from the event are available in the Photo Gallery