On 6 November 2019 in Vukovar, Ministers Marko Pavić and Gordan Grlić Radman presented the programme of Croatia's presidency of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region. Croatian presidency has started on 1 November 2019, and the central theme of the presidency is "The Danube Strategy - 10 Years After".
Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, as the body responsible for the implementation of European territorial cooperation, acts as chair of the Danube strategy, while the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is the national coordinator.
In his opening speech, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Marko Pavić emphasized that the Danube Strategy is one of four macro-regional strategies of the European Union that will soon celebrate the 10th anniversary of its founding, expressing satisfaction that the Presidency is being presented in Vukovar.
The Danube Region - 10 years after - three political objectives of the Croatian Presidency
“When it comes to the Strategy itself, it must be said that it is not only the Strategy but also the funds that are attached to it. This fact is of great importance because different investments are made through the Danube transnational programme accompanying the Strategy. Croatia has so far contracted over HRK 1.2 billion from the Interreg programmes, and some 83 million has been contracted from the Danube transnational programme", the minister said, adding that the Strategy connects 14 countries.
The Minister also said that the main objective of the Presidency was to identify the role of macro-regional strategies, to evaluate the results achieved so far and to determine the future direction of its development. He also emphasized that the presidency of the Strategy overlaps with the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Talking about the political goals of the Croatian Presidency, he said that the first political objective is to strengthen the role of regional development. The next political objective is creating synergies between macro-regional strategies and cohesion policy, as cohesion policy means creating developmental balance between EU countries. For the third political objective - encouraging cooperation with the Western Balkan countries and the Eastern Partnership, the minister emphasized that this objective coincides with the objectives of the Council Presidency 2020.
In addition to the three political objectives, there are five thematic priorities within the Croatian Presidency of the Danube Strategy: Cooperation between research institutions and business stakeholders; Environmental protection and sustainable economic development; Inland waterways, tourism and smart villages; Civil protection; Capacity building of regional and local governments.