TRANSFORMATIONAL ASPECTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION STRATEGY FOR THE DANUBE REGION

Yurii Maslov

Abstract


The attention of the supranational level to transboundary regions increased with the development of regional policy. The reform of the European structural funds, the concepts of equalization and identification of the endogenous potential of regions led to the intensification of cross-border cooperation. Of course, this is not only the merit of the European Union; the growth of Euroregions stimulated financial support, and this led to a new round of growth of Euroregions in the EU territories. The purpose of the article is to determine problems of transformational aspects for elaborating and improving the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region up to the condition of its possible implementation, as well as propose specific measures for its step-by-step implementation until 2020. The European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) is another initiative created in the zonal field of Euroregions for greater cohesion with the supranational level. Most of the EGTC members are located in Eastern and Southern Europe. Moreover, if on the early stages EGTC were projects for the implementation of exclusively cross-border cooperation, then since 2012 they began to be created as platforms for cooperation between cities of different EU member states. EU regions are very diverse from a cultural and historical point of view and have different levels of socio-economic development. In the Danube region over the past two decades, fundamental changes have occurred, taking this into account, the article highlights several strategic directions of development. 1) Geographical association of Europe and the East. There is a huge potential for the development of existing transport and trade links. 2) The developed infrastructural architecture of the education system. Including different universities, but the quality of training varies. Education and training should be linked to the needs of the labour market, along with supporting student mobility throughout the entire Danube region. 3) The presence of millennial traditions of cultural, ethnic, and natural diversity. The presence of large cities and world heritage sites, including the concentration of capitals and cultural centres. This requires a modern approach to tourism offers and infrastructure so that both the guest and the host can get profit from this activity. 4) The ability to optimize and improve the use of renewable energy sources, such as water, wind biomass, thermal springs. There are also wide opportunities for improving energy efficiency by enhancing the efficiency of energy demand management and modernizing building and logistics. These measures will facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. 5) Availability of natural wealth: unique fauna and flora, the most valuable water resources and unique landscapes (for example, the Danube Delta, the Carpathians). They must be in constant preservation and recovery. Each designated area contains priority recommendations in various fields of activity. The transformational optimization strategy proposed by the author provides a stable framework for the policy of integration and cohesive development of the Danube region. It establishes priority areas aimed at creating the EU Region of the 21st century.

Keywords


regional policy, European Union, EGTC, Lower Danube Euroregion, European integration, transformational strategy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.30525/2256-0742/2019-5-3-108-115

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