The 9th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region was an exceptional one. For the first time, both the event meetings and thematic sessions were held online. Thus, when talking about present challenges the Danube Region faces, organisers managed to overcome the ubiquitous one - transferring personal meetings and activities into online world. The significant annual event was organised under the Croatian EUSDR Presidency on 22nd October 2020 and focused primarily on the ecological, economic and social aspects of sustainable regional development in the Danube Region.
Among many interesting workshops loaded with valuable information, we would like to emphasize the thematic session of the Danube Transnational Programme. Our representatives displayed goals for the future of the programme and mainly presented new priorities for the upcoming period 2021 - 2027. The presenters manifested main steps in the programming process, starting with the analysis of the region, pointing out challenges where transnational cooperation can trigger a change and highlighting the importance of transnational cooperation.
Compared to the territorial analysis in 2014, they mentioned new trends in the region such as join actions in combating climate change, high growth potential hindered by labour shortage, re-emerging stricter border regimes, uncoordinated management of immigration to the region and emigration from the region, need for cooperation in the development of circular economy, intensifying labour migration from the eastern to the western part, digitalisation and growing demand for e-governence.
The following new priorities for 2021 - 2027 were introduced:
- A smarter Europe: enhancing research and innovation capacities and developing skills for industrial transition and entrepreneurship.
- A greener, low-carbon Europe: promoting renewable energy, climate change adaptation, disaster risk prevention and ecosystem-based approaches as well as access to sustainable water management, enhancing biodiversity, green infrastructure in the urban environment and reducing pollution.
- A more social Europe: enhancing the effectiveness and inclusiveness of labour markets, developing social infrastructure, improving access to personal and online education and enhancing social inclusion.
- A better cooperation governance: enhancing the institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders.
Before the official event opening, the 7th Danube Participation Day - Youth Participation in the Danube Region side event was arganised on 21st October where the Draft Guidance Paper for Youth Participation in the Danube Region was presented to public.
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Photos source: EUSDR2020.hr