Task Forces


Council conclusions on the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region

3083rd GENERAL AFFAIRS Council meeting, Brussels, 13 April 2011

The Council adopted the following conclusions:
1. RECAPITULATING the European Council Conclusions of 18-19 June 2009,
ACKNOWLEDGING the Commission’s Communication concerning the European Union
Strategy for the Danube Region and COMMENDING the European Commission (hereinafter
referred to as 'the Commission') on their extensive consultation process conducted when
preparing the Communication;
2. WELCOMING the innovative and integrated approach in addressing challenges of common
aspiration within the EU through macro-regional strategies, based on the experience gained
from the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region as well as future experiences of the EU Strategy
for the Danube Region and their synergies and RECOGNISING that Member States participate
in these strategies and any possible future macro-regional strategies on a voluntary basis;
3. TAKING NOTE of declarations, conclusions adopted and consultations conducted in Ulm (6
May 2009 and 1-2 February 2010), in Budapest (25-26 February 2010), in Vienna and
Bratislava (19-21 April 2010), in Ruse (10-11 May 2010), in Constanta (9-11 June 2010) and in
Bucharest (8 November 2010);
4. RECOGNISING the potential of territorial strategies, in this particular case at the macro
regional level, for contributing to the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU, for
achieving EU objectives, for enhancing the importance of sustainable development and for
helping to adapt to future challenges facing the EU;
5. STRESSING that macro-regional strategies are based on the principle no new EU funds, no
additional EU formal structures and no new EU legislation;
6. REITERATING that the Strategy is financially neutral, through its coordinated approach, aims
at a more efficient and effective use of existing EU instruments and funds, as well as other
existing resources and financial instruments;
7. WELCOMING the active cooperation of all interested international, national and regional
organisations, regional and local communities in areas where actions of mutual interest can be
identified, respecting the initiatives of the civil society;
8. RECOGNISING the common challenges and the specific conditions of the different States
concerned as identified in the Strategy;
9. ACKNOWLEDGING the contribution the EU Strategy for the Danube Region can make to the
further integration of the internal market and to economic, social and territorial cohesion, as
well as its contribution to fostering cooperation with third countries in the Danube river basin,
and its assistance to participating candidate and potential candidate countries on their European
10. ENDORSES the EU Strategy for the Danube Region and TAKES NOTE of the annexed Action
Plan that was elaborated by the Commission on the basis of a consultation with the Member
States, third countries and other stakeholders;
11. STRESSES that the EU Strategy for the Danube Region has a strategic framework guided by
the Europe 2020 Strategy and the European Sustainable Development Strategy, thus its
potential to contribute to long-term objectives, such as to smart, sustainable and inclusive
growth and competitiveness of the European Union is ensured;
Download document 12. STRESSES that the application of existing funds and financial instruments supporting the
involvement of third countries participating in the implementation of the Strategy should be
fully aligned with relevant external EU strategies and policies which also determine the relevant
external lending mandates of the European Investment Bank.
13. STRESSES the importance of due involvement of all EU Member States and all interested
stakeholders on transnational, regional and local level, as appropriate, in the implementation of
the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.
14. While stressing the primarily internal character of the strategy and the necessity to preserve the
integrity of the EU decision making, ACKNOWLEDGES that the inclusion and participation
of third countries is crucial if the desired objectives of the strategy are to be achieved;
15. STRESSES that the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region should be
launched without delay and AGREES that a governance structure for the implementation and
follow-up of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region is required, therefore ENCOURAGES
Member States concerned and in particular their National Contact Points and their Priority Area
coordinators to facilitate the start of the implementation. Based on the first experiences of the
EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region
a. INVITES the National Contact Points and the Priority Area Coordinators, in close
cooperation with the Commission and with due involvement of participating third
− to establish a network, where appropriate, consisting of the national counterparts
relevant to each Priority Area Coordinators;
− to identify the possible relevant stakeholders, with particular emphasis on Project
− to provide relevant information on the Strategy to the citizens, including to
associate civil society concerned and to promote public awareness;
− to examine the Commission's target examples and to find agreement on realistic
and feasible targets relevant to the macro-region with the involvement of the
Commission and all relevant stakeholders ;
− to promote the cross-sectoral approach of the Strategy, on the basis of the acquis
communautaire relevant to the Priority Areas of the Strategy;
− to compile a list of on-going projects and possible project ideas under the
respective Priority Areas. This list shall be continuously updated during the
implementation and also be included into the first Progress Report issued by the
Commission by the end of 2012;
− to provide assistance to Lead Partners in order to facilitate the implementation of
projects and the further development and screening of project ideas. This
assistance shall emphasize available European funding opportunities and rules and
make full use of already existing sources of information. During the
implementation of individual actions and projects the voluntary nature of
participation should be preserved.
b. INVITES the Commission:
− to play a leading role in the strategic coordination of the key delivery stages of the
Strategy, in partnership with the Member States and in accordance with the
subsidiarity principle;
− to safeguard an involvement of stakeholders concerned from all levels in the
region, for example through an annual forum with the aim of helping the
Commission in its tasks;
− to provide the Member States, regions concerned and participating third countries
in the Strategy with a continuous assistance and guidance on good practices in
cross-border, transnational and interregional coordination and implementation;
− to take the objectives of the Strategy into account in relevant policy initiatives and
programme planning, without prejudice to the negotiations and decisions of the
next multi-annual financial framework;
− to set-up in line with the Communication of the Commission an High-Level
Group of officials from all EU Member States in order to assist the Commission in
the task of facilitating the implementation of the Strategy. Third countries
participating in the EU Strategy for the Danube Region should be invited;
− to regularly report to the High Level Group on the implementation of the agreed
actions and the evaluation of results, as well as amendments and updates of the
Action Plan in a Progress Report, by no later than end of 2012 in the first instance;
− to regularly inform the Council on the progress made and on the Communication
and a revised Action Plan, by June 2013 in the first instance;
16. INVITES the Commission and the Member States concerned to support the aims of the
Strategy by facilitating the coordination of existing EU funds and instruments and by
simplifying the relevant rules of implementation to enable quick and effective project
generation and implementation, with the potential support of financial institutions relevant for
the realisation and funding of the Strategy.
17. RECOGNISES the administrative and technical burden put onto the Member States and in
particular onto the Priority Area Coordinators when launching the Strategy, therefore CALLS
ON the Commission and other EU institutions as well as the Member States concerned to
explore and identify ways of providing technical assistance within available financial resources
to ease the start of implementation.
18. INVITES the Member States concerned and the Commission to explore the possible
interconnections and synergies between the two existing macro-regional strategies, namely the
EU Strategies for the Baltic Sea Region and the Danube Region. CALLS ON the European
Commission to ensure on this basis the coherent development of both macro-regions, including
infrastructural connections between them.
19. CALLS UPON the Member States concerned and the Commission to ensure full transparency
and visibility as far as the implementation process and further development of the Strategy is
concerned and to disseminate to all Member States information, good practices and lessons
learned, on the basis of experiences acquired, in view of possible future macro-regional
20. Considering the results achieved as well as experiences and good practices acquired during the
implementation of existing macro-regional strategies, INVITES the Commission to clarify the
concept of macro-regional strategies, to evaluate their value added and submit the outcomes to
the Council and the European Parliament by June 2013.
21. INVITES the Member States in cooperation with the Commission to continue to work on
possible future macro-regional strategies."

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