Vienna, 5 July 2013 Press release

Spindelegger: "Commitment to EU Danube Strategy has proven successful"

Positive European Commission's Evaluation Report

Vienna, 5 July 2013 – The EU Commission published its evaluation report on the macro-regional strategies for the Baltic Sea and Danube Region this week, bringing a broadly positive verdict on the strategies. The strategies work without any additional EU funds, without any new institutions and without any new legal regulations. And yet, more than 100 flagship projects have been organised in the Baltic Sea Region alone, and in the framework of the Strategy for the Danube Area more than 400 projects worth 49 billion euros in total are currently being examined, and 150 of these projects are already being implemented.

"We welcome the Commission's evaluation report about the macro-regional strategies for the Danube and the Baltic Sea Regions", Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said. "The report points clearly to tangible success stories in the Danube Region Strategy that are also based on Austrian initiatives. In addition to the Danube Region Business Forum for small and medium-sized enterprises that is organised by the Austrian Economic Chamber, Austria's overall transport plan, in particular with regard to inland waterways, is mentioned as a positive example of successful inclusion of EU integration efforts in national policy. Another pleasant example is the Danube Financing Dialogue that serves as a platform for a more efficient connection between donors and project carriers; something that is of particular importance in times of sparse funds", Spindelegger continued.

"I share the opinion of Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, that the macro-regional strategies have proved to be successful. We do not only see them merely as a response to concrete challenges, such as joint flood management, but also as an opportunity for sustainable growth, especially in our neighbouring countries. And this will in turn have a positive impact on our exports", Spindelegger said. "The Alpine area also harbours great opportunities and we would like to dedicate a separate EU Strategy to the Alps to position them as a powerhouse of Europe".  

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