New mechanism to coordinate Danube strategy implementation

The Bulgarian government decided during its meeting on 29 August to establish a new national mechanism to coordinate the activities for the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region*.

The establishment of the national mechanism corresponds to the requirements of good governance and effective institutional cooperation and partnership encoded in the Danube strategy.The mechanism will include a national high level group and steering group. The first one will be chaired by the National Coordinator of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region who is also the minister of regional development. It will also comprise of the ministers of foreign affairs, finance, EU funds management, interior, environment, transport, economy, education and agriculture.

The high level group will meet twice a year and its main function would be commitment on political level, presentation and protection of Bulgarian priority projects in relation to the Danube strategy during international discussions, but also update of the action plan for Bulgaria’s participation in the strategy.On the other hand, the steering group would comprise mainly deputy ministers, heads of departments in ministries, representatives of local authorities, civil society and the academia. The main functions of the group would be of a coordinative and expert nature.

At the beginning of July the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, was an official visit to Bulgaria aiming at monitoring the progress on the Danube strategy.

Hahn’s visit took place a week after in late June the Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, suggested that Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria should prepare their first pilot project on the Danube strategy.

Also in June, the transport ministers of all riparian states of the Danube met for the first time in in Luxembourg in order to discuss a number of commitments to avoid a repeat of last autumn’s navigation standstills on the river Danube.

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