Authors: Krisztina Kőműves, geographer, PhD student, and
András Mérei, geographer, politologist, PhD student,
Doctoral School of Earth Sciences University of Pécs, Hungary
Editor’s note: The role of NGOs in the implementation of the EU Strategy for Danube Region is significant. It is true for all the priority areas of its Action Plan, but most of all in the areas of environmental protection. For the process of raising knowledge in this field, it is encouraging that PhD students choose this theme for the subject of their research. Such a research was presented at the the 22nd Conference “Danube – River of Cooperation” in September 2011.
The southeast strategic direction and the importance of the Danube region has been present in the German political thinking for centuries. This thanks not only to the pass of the River Danube in Southern Germany, but also to the vacuum of power in the area in the past and the presence of German ethnic groups.
Due to the changing German interests in Southeast Europe, today the Danube Strategy of the European Union could define a new policy which base not only on state interests but on the determinate role of NGOs and ’bottom-up’ initiatives. According to the ’bottom-up’ principle – the idea of European Commission – there are many proposals which come from the local players.
Similarly, proposals not yet completely planned or funded, due to the relatively short progress time, are nevertheless interesting because of its basic idea. The actual implementation of these projects therefore depends on the availability of third-party resources, or whether the existing programs and each of the available resources (especially the EU) and placements for the support are possible. Some proposals – especially the environmental projects – are as the best-practice examples because other places with similar problems along the Danube could acquire these as well.
The order of the proposals is based on the following six pillars nominated by the Free State of Bavaria: ’An attractive and prosperous region’, ’A safe and environmental-friendly energy supplies’, ’Environment-friendly design of transport and accessibility’, ’The Danube as a natural territory’, ’A secure region’ and ’A culturally diverse and valuable region’. In our paper we summarize the proposals of Bavarian NGOs among the environmental projects of the Danube Strategy.