We grow together – together we grow.
One theme, three perspectives
Inclusive, sustainable growth as a focus and prerequisite of prosperity
The financial and economic crisis has had a disproportionately negative effect on many countries in the Danube Region. Against this backdrop, the EUSDR can become a catalyst for accelerated recovery, growth and employment by contributing towards deeper economic integration and cohesion in the Danube Region. However, in order to achieve dynamism and prosperity, the aspects of inclusiveness, competitiveness and ecological sustainability must be understood as being of equal importance for balanced development. By adding emphasis to the social dimension and the creation of jobs, the conference established a strong thematic link with the objectives of Europe 2020, i.e. sustainable growth, employment, education and the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
Multi-stakeholder European policies for an integrated and competitive Danube Region
Inclusive, sustainable growth will result from policies that are conceived and delivered in partnership of government, business and civil society – be it equality strategies to combat social exclusion, investment in education and employment opportunities or high-value services of general interest. Finding innovative solutions at the interface of different policy areas (such as labour market, innovation and entrepreneurship policies, social and educational policies, etc.) and strengthening the capacities of actors and institutions are key to successfully addressing major challenges in the Danube region. Representing the successful interplay of sub-state, national and European policy levels, the instruments and priorities of the EU Structural and Investment Funds can contribute much to this agenda and the implementation of the EUSDR.
Governance as a criterion of success for the EUSDR
On a macro-regional level, a “smart” and inclusive governance model promises reinforced dynamic and shared ownership in the process of implementing the Danube Region Strategy. In spring 2014, the European Commission will conduct a discussion process regarding the governance structures for European macro-regions that is to result in a Communication to the European institutions. Thus the Vienna Annual Forum 2014 offered a timely occasion to address questions of EUSDR governance itself: Who is to assume political leadership for the Strategy? How and who is leading the overall and day-to-day implementation of the Strategy? Who shall be the voice of the EUSDR vis-à-vis external parties? What is needed to ensure that the people in the Danube Region will be mobilised, activated and motivated to become partners in support of the Strategy and the implementation of its goals?