This year the EUSDR held its 6th Annual Forum already – the yearly gathering took place 18-19 October in Budapest, with the joint organisation of Hungary (Presidency of the EUSDR in 2017), the European Commission and us, the Danube Transnational Programme (DTP).
The event ran under the title ‘A secure, connected and prospering Danube Region’. After the impressive opening show followed by the welcome speech of H.E. Mr. Viktor Orbán, Prime minister of Hungary, the first day was dedicated to policy-level interventions and workshops, featuring many high-level politicians and addressing the topics energy security, transportation development, clean connectivity issues and non-EU countries. In the meanwhile, DTP representatives were waiting for curious participants in our stand, providing information to all those interested in our programme, projects and opportunities, such as the currently open Seed Money Facility Call. 3 DTP projects (JOINTISZA, TRANSGREEN, DARLINGe) counted on their own stand in the exhibition area.
The second day consisted of several sessions coordinated by the DTP, most of them being interactive with the objective of involving participants in some of the discussions. On the plenary session “Danube Transnational Programme contributing to the Danube Region” our colleagues briefly presented the DTP in general, then the speakers outlined the links and potentials between the programme and the EUSDR, the benefits of transnational cooperation for the Danube region, some of the achievements gained by the programme and expected for the future, as well the capitalisation potential of programme and project results.
The DTP Capitalisation working groups gathered stakeholders in 12 groups (in accordance with the 12 Capitalisation Poles of the DTP), which were moderated by the Pole leaders with the support of the related EUSDR Priority Area Coordinators. Participants gained an insight in the Poles’ activities and could discuss experiences and ideas; thus, this session was a unique opportunity for networking and for the thematic poles to meet relevant projects, programmes, initiatives and stakeholders which could be involved in their capitalisation activities in the future. In order to reach more people, Thematic Pole 4 live streamed their discussion on Facebook – watch the video here!
The workshop “Present and Future of the Danube Transnational Programme” was a key platform to discuss how the prospects of the DTP are seen from four different angles (European Commission, EU and non-EU country members of the programme and a Lead partner from a DTP project). The speakers elaborated on the strengths and challenges of transnational programmes (DTP in particular), and how they add a unique value to the European community compared to other financing instruments.
Following the coffee break, four parallel workshops on “Funding opportunities for EUSDR Pillars” introduced the topics in line with the four thematic EUSDR pillars, as well as some available funding instruments, along with the DTP itself – our project officers participated in the session as speakers!
The event was closed with Hungary handing over the EUSDR presidency to Bulgaria and with our hoping that participants enjoyed a fruitful conference providing them with a practical insight into the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.