Vienna, 23 November 2009 - "The Danube is not only a symbol of Europe’s new coalescence, but also an important part of our European identity. Therefore, Austria and Romania have successfully initiated the elaboration of a Danube strategy within the European Union. In June, the Commission received a mandate from the European Council to prepare such a strategy by 2010, designed to ensure that the manifold activities and programmes of the EU and the neighbouring states in this region will come together under one common umbrella," stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger following his talks in Vienna with Pawel Samecki, the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy.
Austria would pro-actively contribute to the preparation of this strategy, affirmed Spindelegger. An initial Austrian position paper is to be presented to the European Commission in December: "The Danube Region has enormous future potential at the inter-personal, cultural, political and economic levels, and we want to leverage this potential in the long term. Here, the basic idea is a bottom-up approach: regions, provinces, cities and local communities, but also non-governmental organisations must be fully integrated into the strategy, "Spindelegger continued." In this process Austria will be particularly committed to ensuring compatibility to secure better use of the Danube as well as improving its protection," concluded the Foreign Minister.
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