International Forum on Funding and Technical Support for Small Projects and the Danube Strategy
Ivo Marinov to Attend Bucharest Annual Coordinators’ Meeting in March
Ivo Marinov, Vice-Minister of Economics, Energy, and Tourism, addressed the second annual meeting of coordinators and national representatives responsible for identifying major areas of interest related to the European Union strategy for the Danube region. The forum took place on January 30 and 31 in Bucharest, and included representatives from fourteen countries. The meeting was organized by the European Commission and the secretary responsible for strategic planning – INTERACT – along with the Rumanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bulgaria and Rumania share responsibility for determining priorities in the Danube strategic initiative’s third major area of interest, “Promoting Culture, Tourism, and Contact Among People.” The first meeting on this topic was held in June, in Gödöllő, Hungary.
The creation of a fund to provide financial and technical support for small projects related to local and regional development was proposed during the discussions in Bucharest. The European Investment Bank explained mechanisms by which financial institutions could oversee the projects and decide on ways to disburse the funds to realize them.
At the conference held in the Rumanian capital, the European high commission on regional development also outlined the financial basis for projects related to the Danube strategy. It was announced in Bucharest that on March 22 of this year, the first meeting is scheduled to take place in Vienna, and will include national strategic planners, the Austrian National Bank, and experts from a range of European Union financial programs. The discussions in Vienna are expected to focus on the specific needs of projects as set forth by participating countries, and will consider ways that banks and European programs can help meet those needs. All institution directors included in the Danube strategy are cordially invited to attend.
In June 2012, the coordinators responsible for the major areas of interest are scheduled to present their progress reports. At the January meeting, forum participants also discussed strategic perspectives for financing Danube strategy projects during the next program period (2014-2020), and considered how each member nation could participate on an equal footing so as to develop cohesive policies, advance territorial collaboration, and establish a structure for European Union funding.
The Bulgarian and Rumanian delegations discussed the possibility of holding a working meeting roughly a month after the January forum, again in Bucharest, to establish priorities for Major Area of Interest 3: “Promoting Culture, Tourism, and Contact Among People.” Bulgaria will be represented at that meeting by delegates from the Ministry of Economics, Energy, and Tourism.