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Commissioner Cretu deplores absence of joint projects, despite EU states' year-long struggle for macro-regional strategies

corina cretu

EU member states have been struggling for years to have macro-regional strategies in place, but these actually don't have joint, transnational projects, which seems strange to me, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said on Thursday at the Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) taking place in Bucharest, at the Palace of Parliament.

"Our macro-regional strategies bring together the main goals set during my term in office. One of them is that none of the inhabitants of this area should be left behind, and that these strategies should not be implemented only in the more developed regions, while leaving behind those less developed. As Europeans, we are much better off when we work together across the borders, and when we exchange ideas. It seems to me a little strange to see how member states have been struggling for years to have macro-regional strategies in place, when in fact these don't have joint, transnational projects. This is a big enigma for me. Why, after attempting to devise plans and macro-regional strategies, such hindrances arise? The European funds, the businesses, have an important role in the sector, but they need a certain coordination," Cretu said.

"Giurgiu is a Romanian Danube River city. Navigability in the city has greatly increased, and last year I had the pleasure to meet in Romania the Bulgarian Minister of Transport. It is very clear that if a certain portion doesn't work, traffic along the entire river is compromised. My position and the importance of solving this issue have been understood, and now we have the Danube Freeway project which is aimed at increasing navigability along the Danube. Such a project should produce concrete results. The latest report on macro-strategies of the European Commissioners, from 2019, offers examples of the progress made thanks to cooperation. I have been very frustrated in the five years during which the Danube Strategy was devised, because this project was so dear to me, and I only met under-secretaries of state - so people who couldn't make the relevant decisions and who couldn't start projects. We just met to take lunch together and discuss. Why did we battle so hard for the Danube Strategy? Why did Romania and Bulgaria battle for eight years to develop the Danube Strategy only for the relevant people to not get involved?," inquired the European Commissioner.

Bucharest hosts the 8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, organized at the Palace of Parliament by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alongside the European Commission and the Danube Transnational Program.

Romania is holding between November 1, 2018 and October 30, 2019 the rotating presidency of the EUSDR, following the consensual decision of the participants.

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