The Danube is the second longest river in Europe with almost 2500 kilometres of navigable channel that connects ten West, Central and Eastern European countries along its way: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia and Ukraine.
The Romania – Bulgaria Cross Border* is situated in one of EU’s less developed regions and proposed a different experience from the Austria, Hungary of Slovakia. A different experience in a more challenging environment – a place of high growth potential and tremendous heritage but also of challenges. Well on its way of becoming a new hub for investments and experiences in the Danube basin region, the Eastern Danube Region covers:
Seven Romanian counties: Mehedinti, Dolj, Olt, Teleorman, Giurgiu, Calarasi, Constanta;
Nine districts of Bulgaria: Vidin, Vratsa, Montana, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo, Ruse, Silistra, Dobrich and Razgrad.
While it is still an unknown region today, the Eastern Danube has a population of over 5 million inhabitants and one of the most fertile soils in the EU. Along with a diverse array of natural resources, good education networks and a skilled and low-cost labor force, the region will have a lot to offer once the socio-economic gap is closed and improvements in infrastructure (building new bridges over the Danube, flood prevention), pollution prevention and in economic prospects are made. The Eastern Danube Region is not only an odyssey for those who choose to navigate its waters but its road to sustainable development is an odyssey itself, one in which all the challenges must be completed in order to find a way to finish the journey towards prosperity.
* The Romania-Bulgaria Cross Border Cooperation Programme is an EU-financed Operational Programme, applying in Romania and Bulgaria, for the period 2007-2013.
The programme supports the development of specific eligible border areas, in Romania and Bulgaria. It aims to create a “bridge” between the two countries, in order to help the border areas overcome their similar development problems, by working together and finding common solutions. Hence, instead of dividing, the border will unite the areas on either side of the Danube.
Through the Romania-Bulgaria Cross Border Cooperation Programme the people in border areas will be encouraged to develop new businesses, exchange information and benefit from improved access over the frontier. They will work together on flood prevention, preservation of natural assets and tourism promotion. This will result in increased incentives to live and work in the border communities and will make these areas more attractive to investors.
Objectives of the Romania-Bulgaria Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013
Overall strategic goal of the Programme: to bring together the people, communities and economies of the Romania-Bulgaria border area to participate in the joint development of a cooperative area, using its human, natural and environmental resources and advantages.
Romania and Bulgaria set the following common objectives for this Programme:
1. Improved access to transport infrastructure, to facilitate the movement of goods and people;
2. Improved availability and dissemination of information on joint opportunities within the border area;
3. Sustainability of the intrinsic value of the area’s natural resources by prudent exploitation and effective protection of the fragile environment;
4. Sustainable economic development of the border area, by joint initiatives to enhance comparative advantages and reduce disadvantages;
5. Strengthened social and cultural cohesion, by cooperative actions between people and communities.