The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) is a macro regional strategy of the European Commission covering the region between the Black Forest and the Black Sea. (The participating countries and regions are: Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and border regions of the Ukraine). Its main aim is to develop the Danube Region by increasing interregional cooperation and network building. The basic idea is to follow a bottom-up approach: individuals and groups in the Danube Region countries are asked to define projects which are then implemented together with partners from other countries or regions. The intention behind the joint implementation of projects is to increase the knowledge transfer in the region in general and to help the less developed countries to use more of their approved budget of the EU regional funds in particular.
The responsibilities in the EUSDR are divided into eleven priority areas. In 2013, the coordinator of Priority Area 8 ("Competitiveness") commissioned a study on the socio-economic development of the Danube Region. This study is divided into two parts. In the first part, extensive data has been collected on the competitiveness, entrepreneurship and SMEs and cooperation in the Danube Region. By assessing these data, a set of preliminary recommendations has been formulated. The aim of the second part is to develop these recommendations further. For this, four focus groups (moderator-led discussions) with representatives from all the countries of the Danube Region have been carried November 2014 and January 2015. In a follow-up step the theses, which came out from these focus groups shall be discussed with a broader group of experts, which shall happen at this platform.
The project is carried out by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim, Germany, together with the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IAW) Tübingen, Germany, and the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), Austria. The project publications so far can be found below.