The Hungarian Presidency of the Danube Region Strategy has launched a discussion in Brussels on the future cooperation between macro regional strategies
Over 100 experts, from 23 different countries (including 3 non-EU countries) engaged in the implementation of macro regional strategies were present at the seminar organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary on the 23rd of May in Brussels. The event, which was hosted by the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU, has generated very much interest and gave the opportunity to the existing macro regional strategies to share their experiences, but also gave the possibility for the Carpathian Macro Regional Strategy to be introduced by Poland.
In his keynote address dr. György Kozma, Head of Cabinet of the Permanent Representation of Hungary, highlighted that this initiative is ground-breaking in that it is the first time when all stakeholders and decision makers were involved (from the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region and the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region) in the discussions regarding the future perspectives of macro regional strategies. He further emphasized that the framework provided by macro regional strategies could be the most suitable form of cooperation for regional advocacy, for example considering the future financing possibilities beyond 2020, because they inherently bridge the divide between political ambitions of nation states and the European Union.
The speakers of the event found the expert level dialogue – which included important questions such as the need to simplify application procedures to EU funds and the importance of concentrating existing funds based on jointly defined strategic areas – very pragmatic. The discussion also covered the opportunities of increasing funds that are directly connected to the implementation of macro-regional strategies – such as the Danube Region Strategy, in which Hungary plays an active and leading role.
In his concluding words Gábor Jenei, Deputy National Coordinator of Hungary in the EUSDR, highlighted that based on the positive feedback received from the participants of the event the discussion must be continued and that the member states count on the further involvement and leadership of Hungary in the future. The Deputy National coordinator also emphasized that the representatives of the European Commission and the experts present agreed that the implementation of the strategies is best served by the successful realisation of projects. In this regard Hungary can be a leading example, as it heads more than one fifth of the projects financed by the Danube Transnational Programme that covers 14 countries and mobilizes 250 million €.