EU Danube Region Strategy (EUSDR) PA1a 23rd Steering Group Meeting on 9 October 2023 in Bucharest & Activity Coordination Meeting FAIRway Danube II
At the meeting, the representatives of the Danube riparian states, the Danube Commission as well as stakeholders gathered to discuss important developments in the Danube area, coped with under the EUSDR, a strategy, co-funded by the European Union.
The participants received an update of the revision process of the Joint Statement by Danube Commission, Sava Commission and ICPDR on Guiding Principles on the Development of Inland Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Danube River Basin from 2007. The Joint Statement is supposed to balance the objectives of in inland navigation and nature protection for the Danube and Sava River Basin, depicting the overlapping and contradicting objectives that need to be integrated. The guidelines are characterized by their integrated approach, the multi-purpose use of the riverine landscape ensuring the inland waterway transport and, on the other hand, achieving environmental objectives for the multidisciplinary planning and decision-making process. Following the changes since 2007, ambitious EU environmental and transport legislation and the capacity of national administrations to implement them promptly and to a high standard led to the need to adapt the Joint Statement to the new challenges in the field of navigation and environmental protection. The revised JS is supposed to be adopted by the end of 2024.
Under the strategy a Study on economic effects of low water on the Danube River will be commissioned in early 2024, covering all Danube riparian countries.
A discussion regarding the Greening of the Danube fleet focused on current activities of the administrations and their support to the barge operators.
The representatives of the IWT Platform and EBU pointed to the need of national funding programs to support the energy transition of the sector, including the development of the necessary alternative fuels infrastructure along the entire Danube corridor.
The secretariat of the EUSDR currently is preparing DANUBE MINISTERIAL CONCLUSIONS, which are supposed to be adopted during the Connecting Europe Days 2024 in Brussels.
The PA1a Steering Group meeting was organised back-to-back with the FAIRway Danube II Activity Coordination meeting, which included a field trip on board of the marking vessels of EAEMDR and AFDJ the following day to learn more about the current planning of the waterway authorities regarding the use of flexible infrastructure elements along the Danube.
Author: Theresia Hacksteiner