PM Boc at Danube Summit: We must be good at drafting strategies and at practical aspects too

Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc told the participants in the Conference on the Danube Strategy here on Thursday that the involved players must be ‘good at strategies’, but also at the practical aspects and he warned that strategy risks staying a mere piece of paper if not completed by projects.

In this respect, Boc proposed that the railway linking central to southeastern Europe should be extended to Budapest, Bucharest and the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta.
The Romanian prime minister stressed the Danube Strategy offers an opportunity to identify cross-border projects that could include the three pillars put forward by the European Commission – connectivity, environmental protection and social-economic development.

‘We must be good at drafting strategies, but also at the practical aspects. We must complete this strategy by projects, otherwise it will remain a mere piece of paper. An example of such a project that could be achieved by the common will of the Danube states is the train linking central to southeastern Europe. I’m speaking of Paris-Strasbourg-Bratislava. It should be extended to Budapest, Bucharest and Constanta,’ Boc said.

He argued that the Danube River states, by working together on such projects, will be capable of reaching cohesion of their political goals in a more efficient manner and could take the next steps in order to launch projects that should ensure the dialogue at all levels – local, national, macro-regional and across the European Union.
The prime minister said Danube remains one of Romania’s priorities and insisted that the job market should be flexible and that education be recognised as a strategic factor for sustainable development. Also, tourism is an important field that must be developed in the region, he added.

‘We are all linked to this river by traditions, cultural values, economic interests. The Danube represents our common past and future existence, a blue strip between the Black Forest and the Black Sea, a genuine collection of spiritual and social links and a unique space for the European civilization’, Boc said in explaining his insistence for a need of a coherent Danube strategy.

He said the Danube region should be turned into a prosperous and valuable area of Europe and he stressed that in order for this to be achieved, transport and environmental protection should be blended, as should good governance with sustainable social-economic development. ‘In 2007, the enlargement brought the European Union to the Black Sea shore.

The cooperation between the EU and the neighbouring countries has enhanced its significance. The political lines that divided us in the past have disappeared, but in order to uproot the still left barriers – between people and cultures, between markets and infrastructure networks – we need a more creative approach’, Boc underscored.
Building a strong Europe means to build relations and strong connections on a national, regional and EU level, he added.

‘The Danube can become a good example of the way to implement a macro-regional strategy. The Danube can thus make a significant contribution to increasing our citizens’ prosperity’, Boc said. The Danube Initiative was launched in 2008 on a common proposal from Romania and Austria, to which the river states joined, including non-EU members.
The proposal relies on three principles – connectivity, environmental protection and water management and social-economic development – the same principles that were adopted in 2009 as part of the Baltic Sea Strategy – the first EU macro-regional strategy.

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