Danube strategy

2. 12. 2016 10:06

The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR)

The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) was created as the second EU macro-regional strategy after the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The Aim of the Strategy is to set a framework for cooperation in order to address common challenges in region through projects and closer cooperation.

The EU Strategy for the Danube Region was adopted based on a mandate from the Council – 19. June 2009.  The implementation phase of the Strategy has been started since 2011. EUSDR includes member states of the EU (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) and non-member states (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldavia, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine). 

Member and non-member states cooperates together in 11 different priority areas and covers topics as transport, energy, education, environment, competitiveness, research, security, civil society and more. 


The European Commission, as the executive of the EU, prepared the Strategy in 2010 in consultation with all partner countries. The Commission´s Directorate General for Regional Policy helps to implement the Strategy by facilitating and supporting actions of the participating countries. They also coordinate the Strategy at the policy level, assisted by a High Level Group.

The High Level Group (HLG) on macro-regional strategies is made up of official representatives from all EU Member States. It assists the Commission in the policy coordination of the Strategy. The Commission consults the HLG for modifications to the Strategy and the action plan, as well as for reports and monitoring.

Each Priority Area is jointly coordinated by two participating countries (or regions), who work in consultation with the Commission, relevant EU agencies and regional bodies. For each Priority Area, each of the two responsible countries designates a Priority Area Coordinator. The Priority Area Coordinators (PACs) ensure the implementation of the Action Plan defined for the Priority Area by agreeing on planning, with targets, indicators and timetables, and by making sure there is effective cooperation between project promoters, programmes and funding sources.

The National Coordinators (NCs) coordinate and keep an overview of the participation of their country in the implementation of the EUSDR including all 11 Priority Areas. The role of the NC is to promote the Strategy and inform relevant stakeholders on the national level of key developments.

Interreg Danube Programme

Interreg logo

The European Territorial Cooperation (ETC), better known as Interreg is one of the goals of the European Union cohesion policy. It provides a framework for the implementation of joint actions and policy exchanges between national, regional and local actors from different Member (and non-member) States.

The overarching objective of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) is to promote a harmonious economic, social and territorial development of the Union as a whole.

The Danube Transnational Programme is a financial instrument of the ETC. 

Transnational Danube Programme logo

Danube Transnational Programme (DTP) is a financing instrument with a specific scope and an independent decision making body and supports the policy integration in the Danube area in selected fields under the CPR/ERDF regulation linked to the EUSDR strategy. Geographically, the DTP area overlaps with the territory addressed by the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR).  

Regiony EUSDR

From the technical and political discussions about the content of the program emerged following topics forming 4 Priority Axis:

Priority axis 1

1.1. Improve framework conditions for innovation
1.2. Increase competences for business and social innovation

Priority axis 2

2.1. Strengthen transnational water management and flood risk prevention
2.2. Foster sustainable use of natural and cultural heritage and resources
2.3. Foster the restoration and management of ecological corridors
2.4. Improve preparedness for environmental risk management

Priority axis 3 

3.1. Support environmentally-friendly and safe transport systems and balanced accessibility of urban and rural areas
3.2. Improve energy security and energy efficiency

Priority axis 4

4.1. Improve institutional capacities to tackle major societal challenges
4.2. Support to the governance and implementation of the EUSDR

The connection between the program and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region

Macro regional strategies are not funding instruments. A macro-regional strategy is an integrated framework (endorsed by the European Council), which may be supported by the European Structural and Investment Funds among others, to address common challenges faced by a defined geographical area relating to Member States and third countries located in the same geographical area which thereby benefit from strengthened cooperation contributing to achievement of economic, social and territorial cohesion. They rather seek to create synergies and coordination between existing policies, funding instruments and initiatives taking place across a given macro region.

Transnational cooperation programmes like the DTP are funding instruments contributing to the realisation of different EU policies and strategies, including macro-regional strategies. Transnational cooperation programmes and macro regional strategies are based on different policy and/or legal frameworks, internal governance structures and administrative procedures, different sets of rules or thematic priorities.

Interreg programe and EUSDR comparison

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