The 8th EUSDR Annual Forum was organized by the Romanian Presidency and took place in the eve of the International Danube Day in Bucharest (June 27th – 28th). The two-day event was held under the motto “Building cohesion for a shared future”. Priority Area 3 “Culture, tourism & people-to-people contacts”, which is jointly coordinated by Romania and Bulgaria, was involved in many activities included in the agenda of the forum. The 18th PA 3 Steering Group Meeting was organized on June 26th in Bucharest in the premises of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration.
Representatives of 7 EUSDR countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Ukraine and Serbia) and of partner organizations (DCC) attended the meeting. Mr. Răzvan Ștefan Rab – Foreign Ministry State Secretary and EUSDR National Coordinator of Romania, opened the session and welcomed the participants. Representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works of the Republic of Romania, the Danube Strategy Point as well as the thematic coordinator of Pole 5a of the Danube Transnational Programme we also among the participants in the meeting. Mr. Lyubomir Sirakov, the Bulgarian PAC, and Mrs. Irina Cozma, on behalf of the Romanian PAC, chaired the meeting.
The leader of DTP thematic Pole 5 “Cultural and natural values in the Danube region” Mr. Sebastian Bonis briefly presented the status of the implemented projects and the results achieved. The SG members were informed about the progress of the Routes4U project and the selected ideas for new cultural routes in the Danube region.
In the centre of the discussions was the ongoing revision of the EUSDR Action Plan, launched at the initiative of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Strategy.
The process had reached its final stage after an almost year-long work. The final deadline for amendment was July 2nd when the NCs had to send all inputs to the Danube Strategy Point (DSP). By September-October this year the European Commission has to present the final revised Action Plan.
Mr. Lichtner from the DSP emphasised that the DSP had been trying to be of service to all member states of the Danube Strategy and would continue to support the involvement of EU neighbouring countries. He also presented the foundations of a new monitoring system aimed at exploring the impact of the Strategy and the results it achieved. In this regard, the Steering Group members discussed the difficulties in identifying quantified and qualitative indicators that correspond to the objectives and activities set out in the Action Plan.
In addition, the two Coordinators of Priority Area 3 provided information on the activities carried out in the framework of the DTP PAC project. On the eve of the 7th Annual Danube Strategy Forum in Sofia in October 2018, the PА 3 team in Bulgaria organized two workshops dedicated to cruise tourism and tourism monitoring systems. PА 3 had its own info corner at the 7th Forum. In addition, a public discussion and а conference on cultural routes in Bucharest (Romania) wеrе held in November 2018. The Bulgarian PA 3 Coordinator is in char
ge of contracting two studies to be implemented in 2019 – one on festivals and one on cruise tourism in the Danube region.
In conclusion, the PA 3 coordinators announced that a new call for project proposals under the DTP support scheme for Priority Areas is to be launched. In this regard, the Steering Group members should submit their ideas on the activities to be included in the application form of the future project.
On June 27th the PA 3 Coordinators participated in Routes4U B2B talks organized by the Routes4U Project (Joint Cooperation of the Council of Europe and the European Commission). The side event provided a platform for discussion about opportunities in cultural tourism through the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.
The 8th EUSDR Annual Forum started on June 27th with an opening session followed by 4 thematic sessions on the same day and 3 sessions on the next day. The Bulgarian PA 3 PAC Mr. Sirakov participated as a speaker in the discussion on “Developing joint strategic projects: Fusing transportation and digitalization”. In a conversation with representatives from the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre, business companies and non-governmental organizations, Mr. Sirakov presented the vision of the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism for diversifying the portfolio of regional tourist products and overcoming seasonality in tourism.
During the two days of the 8th Forum, the PA 3 team welcomed participants and stakeholders on a specialized info corner where a lot of promotional and informational materials of projects and initiatives in the fields of culture and tourism were present.