12/10/2018 CoR Secretary General: Danube region should take advantage in exploiting the "Silk Road" project potential
On Friday 12th October 2018, Secretary General of the European Committee of the Regions Jiri Burianek opened the 9th Danube Academic Conference in Stuttgart, delivering an introductory speech on the emergent relation between the Danube area and the "Silk Road", the famous Chinese connectivity strategy launched in 2013. The conference, hosted by the European Academy of Sciences and Arts was attended by high scholars and researchers that exchanged views on scientific and digital developments in the Danube area.
In his intervention, Mr. Burianek underlined the results of the EU macro-regional strategies such as the Danube Strategy, which in only ten years have become established place-based instruments for the development of regions and rural areas in many EU and non-EU Member States along the Danube river. A clear example is the success story of the "Navigability Danube master plan", which implemented the potential of the Danube as transport corridor.
Transport planning, continued Mr. Burianek, is a key priority of politics since centuries. The "One Belt One Road" initiative, for example, is just adhering to one of the oldest principles of the history: implementing infrastructures to speed up the share of goods and products. For this reason, the Danube region which present and future lays in connectivity should take advantage of the engagement of China in the area, exploiting its expertise and expanding the areas of cooperation and consultation between Beijing and EU.
Macro-regional Danube Strategy could cross-fertilize with the Silk Road approach well beyond the traditional sector of transport only. This meeting has to be seen against the background of the EC communication on "Connecting Europe and Asia Building blocks for an EU Strategy" of 19 September 2018 that foresees cooperation in areas like digital, patents, etc. There was a strong interest by the delegation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences led by Mr Pan to further explore possibilities with EU-institutions, including with the CoR.