Vienna, 10 April 2013 – Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger today welcomed the positive progress report of the EU Commission on the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. "We see the EU Strategy for the Danube Region as an essential means of linking a European growth region of the future to Austria and the European Union", Spindelegger said. "And this is in line with central national concerns. Austria's bearing on the implementation of the Strategy is clearly visible and the progress report takes account of it."
By way of example, Spindelegger listed the explicitly mentioned activities of the Danube Business Forum, a network of more than 300 small and medium-sized enterprises from the region, and the Danube Financing Dialogue, a platform for project organisers and financing institutions. Spindelegger said that the focus in these initiatives is on optimising available resources and strengthening institutional capacities in the region with a view to growth promotion. Austria also provides valuable input to vocational training and employment promotion in the countries of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region: "These are socially responsible Austrian contributions for sustainable social development of the Danube area, and Austria benefits from them directly", the Vice-Chancellor said.
"I share Commissioner Hahn's point of view that we will now have to step up a gear", Spindelegger continued. "This applies mainly to creating a long-term, stable and powerful structure for the implementation of the Strategy and to embedding it firmly in the EU financial framework 2014 - 2020. It is also important that the good experience made with the EU Strategy for the Danube Region will be put to use in other European macro-regions, such as the Alpine area."
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