In mid 2009, the EU decided to prepare the Danube Strategy by the end of 2010, which aims at strengthening ties between 14 countries in the region in order to have the best possible overview of all the potentials, problems and possible solutions in the sustainable use of natural, cultural and historical resources of the Danube and the Danube Basin. It is expected that the Strategy prepared by the European Commission will be adopted in mid 2011, during the Hungarian EU presidency. State Secretary with the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development Dragijana Radonjic Petrovic underlines that the Danube Strategy is the first and only strategy treating Serbia as a country of the same status as any full-fledged EU member state. Djuro Malobabic has more.
The Danube region encompasses 14 countries, of which 8 EU member states, from its source in Germany to the Ukraine and its mouth in the Black Sea. Starting from the inter-related and numerous challenges in region, the cooperation within the macro region is focused on more efficient coordination, says Dragijana Radonjic Petrovic. Participating in the Austrian-Serbian business forum, held in Vienna in mid-March, she pointed out a very important fact that the Danube Strategy is the first strategy that treats Serbia as a member of the European Union. “This is very encouraging because we are recognized as a partner, without whom they cannot handle this project, since one fifth of the widest and deepest navigable part of the Danube flows through Serbia. The Strategy is very important for Serbia because along with the other 10 countries, we have a possibility to develop projects that are of particular importance for the Danube region, as well as for the rest of Serbia. It is significant that Serbia is participating in joint projects with all countries included in the Danube Strategy because this facilitates its access to the EU pre-accession funds,” says the State Secretary with the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development. Radonjic Petrovic adds that the project of revitalizing the fortress in Golubac on the border with Romania for which, as she says, there is great interest in both countries. After Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, the Danube, as one of the Trans-European corridors, became the main waterway through the territory of the Union. The Danube region is a diverse area in the economic, ecological and cultural terms, and these states share many common resources and are mutually connected. Some 115 million EU citizens, or almost every fifth adult, live in the Danube River Basin, while about 20 million people directly depend on the Danube.
Speaking of the Austro-Serbian business forum which was founded by renowned companies in Austria that operate in Serbia, such as Henkel, Poor, Winer, Unica, Strabag, and several successful Serbian companies like Tigar from Pirot, Energoprojekt, and West Point Group, Radonjic Petrovic believes that the forum is a good mediator between the two countries and two economies and a good medium for even better communication and cooperation. The Ministry of Economy and Regional Development will contribute activities of the forum, she announced.
State Secretary Radonjic Petrovic believes that after the Government reshuffle, the Ministry will continue to engage in many activities even more effectively than before.