In his opening speech, Ministerial Commissioner and Hungarian National Coordinator Mr István Joó reminded that after this year’s Annual Forum in November Hungary will take over the presidency from the Slovak Republic and will organize the Annual Forum in 2017 where energy and water security will be in focus. Mr István Joó asked all the participants for their support in forming the program of the presidency and the Annual Forum.
Mr Marco Onida, team leader at the European Commission (DG Regional and Urban Policy), informed the Steering Group of PA2 that the targets have been unanimously adopted at the NC/PAC meeting hold on the 23rd May in Bratislava. Officially they need to be endorsed by the High Level Group (hereinafter: HLG) in November 2016, he added.
The preparation process for the 5th Annual Forum under the Slovak Presideny was presentated by Ms Barbara Ochotnická. The event will kick off with the Meeting of the Ministers in charge of research and innovation, she said. The two-day program will include workshops on knowledge society, water as a non-alternative source for life, EUSDR governance and embedding, knowledge management in relation to competitiveness and water nexus and the Danube Transnational Program 2014-2020.
Ms Markéta Ročejdlová informed the Steering Group members that PA2 was represented at the European Habitat, where a new European agenda is being developed. Regional mapping of the United Nations Habitat program took part in Prague in the middle of March, focusing on innovation and urban energy planning. The presence of PA2 was also ensured during the Meeting for EUSAIR organized in April 2016.
To encourage the development of macroregional projects, the work of the Danube Transnational Program, the Specific Objective 3.2 (energy), examples of supported actions, a brief overview of the DTP-EUSDR cooperation, main requirements for applying, first and second calls for proposals were presented by Ms Alessandra Pala. She highlighted that the energy specific objective is meant to support the development of joint regional storage and distribution solutions and strategies.The budget for this SO will be around 18 million euros, she added. The second call for proposals will either be launched towards the middle of November 2016, or it will be pushed to 2017.
Ms Janeta Toma, senior officer of Danube Strategy Point informed the Steering Group on the selection process of strategic projects within the EUSDR. The purpose of the strategic project concept is to create stronger and clearer strategic focus to the EUSDR PA’s activities. Also it should facilitate joint cooperation between Danube states/regions, establish strategic ground for projects/processes to be considered in 2015/2016 revision process, strengthen and improve communication on the strategic focus and efforts of the EUSDR, support embedding strategic projects in funding programs/sources, she said.
After a brief presentation by Mr Ádám Szolyák from the European Commission (DG for Energy) on the latest developments and current state of play in the North-South Interconnections (NSI) East, a new LNG study was presented by Mr Péter Kaderják, director of the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research as a preparatory step for the Stakeholder Seminar “LNG – Dream or reality for the Danube Region?”. After the lunch break, Mr Kaderják presented a second study on the monitoring of the renewable heat sector in the Danube Region.
In the afternoon session, Mr Onida and Ms Ročejdlová updated the Steering Group members on the initiative to endorse an MoU between the Carpathian Convention and the EUSDR. The synergy document, as a non legal document, is aiming at aligning the objectives and activities of the Carpathian Convention with those of the EUSDR.
At the end of the day members of the Steering Group had the pleasure to get a general overview of the 4th macro-regional strategy, the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region by Ms Maren Meyer, as well as on the Bioeconomy Strategy of the Commission by Mr Barna Kovács, research and policy officer at DG RTD.
Please find the agenda of the meeting and the presentations below: