Our first face-to-face event in 2021 was a complete success. In order to address as large a group of participants as possible, we decided at short notice to stream the event online via Zoom.
The aim of the event, which was planned as the opening event for the DanubeMacroRegionBusinessWeek DMRBW2021, was to highlight the possibilities of the Danube region, especially the sustainable use of existing resources. Danube navigation plays a special role in this as an environmentally friendly transport option.
President Eberhard Sinner welcomed the participants from their holidays in Lithuania, Dr. Ernst Schmied, initiator and organiser of the DMRBW events held since 2010, pointed out the importance of the Danube region with its far more than 100 million inhabitants. Since almost all countries east of Bavaria and Austria still have great development potential, he spoke of the "economic stimulus package that lies on our doorstep".
In his keynote speech, Dr. Erhard Busek, former Vice-Chancellor of Austria, emphasised the importance of the success of the EU Danube Strategy. The Danube region is crucial for the consolidation of the EU, and an economic upswing is a prerequisite for this. For Danube navigation, it is important to eliminate the existing problem stretches. In Bavaria, this concerns the Straubing - Vilshofen stretch, which in his opinion should definitely be expanded in the C280 (Presentation of our 2012 OWWC event)variant to enable reliable ship transport.
Important and informative contributions on the current potentials and future focal points of the economy were provided by the representatives of the Consulates General of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Northern Macedonia and the Ukraine, and for Romania by Jürgen Raizner, Steinbeis Management Transferzentrum Ost-West.
Herfried Leitner, President of Pro Danube International, Vienna, and responsible for a large Romanian shipping company, spoke about the problems, but above all about the opportunities currently available to inland navigation on the Danube. Leitner also referred to the problem of freight reliability and called for the elimination of problem stretches. But there are other problems, e.g. the 7/24 availability of customs and port authorities. The forced expansion of intermodal links between water, rail and road is also necessary, he said.
Dr Schmied then showed the way ahead to the event at Dubai EXPO. There, the Danube theme is presented worldwide as the "Danube Tech Valley". The continuation planned for Romania/Bulgaria following the Munich event had to be cancelled due to the classification of Romania as a high incidence area. An attempt will be made to hold this part in November, possibly only virtually.
The Vice President, who moderated the event, summarised the results in his closing remarks. He stated that this event again showed that there is a fundamental problem in the Danube region. The Danube flows through many smaller countries with still different standards, different infrastructure development, different economic power. But this is precisely what makes one thing necessary: an information platform that offers easy access to necessary answers for questions of the most diverse kind. There are already partial information offers in many areas, what is missing is a summary.
Since the Celts, the Danube has been the natural trade route between Central and South-Eastern Europe, and there has always been an exchange of peoples and cultures. Let's build on this and make the Danube region a strong cell for Europe.
Manuscripts and presentations
Croatia: Speech by the Consul General Vladimir Duvnjak
Northern Macedonia: Presentation and invitation to invest
Pro Danube International: Presentation
All photos: Jürgen Raizner©