Mr JOÓ in his welcome speech introduced Mr Károly GOMBÁS and Mr Balázs HORVÁTH as the new Hungarian PA5 and PA4 priority area coordinators. Mr GOMBÁS among others acts as national delegate at the EU Commission’s Working Group of Floods and he is elected Chairman of the ICPDR Flood Protection Working Group. Mr Balázs HORVÁTH is a geographer and hydrologist. Previously he was a Desk Officer on water policy at the European Commission DG ENV in Brussels for 7 years. At present he is leader of the International Department in the General Directorate of Water Management (OVF) in Budapest.
Mr JOÓ highlighted the Hungarian 2017 EUSDR Presidency and later the concept of the 6th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, was introduced. It will mainly focus on transport and energy issues and their combination on a clean way, but all the priority areas will be covered during the event.
Mr JOÓ encouraged the PA5 Steering Group to support the coordination along the implementation of the Danube Region Operative Flood Management and Cooperation Programme adopted by PA5 in 2015, including the DAREFFORT project (harmonization of flood forecasting and unified data exchange practice between the countries) and the enlargement of flood protection education/training network. Both of these stressed topics are subject of projects to be submitted in the first half of 2017.
The keynote speech paid attention to the importance of the Ice Management Planning between the Danube countries as an actual topic and a good example of assistance, how Hungary supports Serbia and Croatia with its ice-breaker fleet in the border region.
In the meeting the PA5 secretariat introduced the new 3-year subsidy project application with the related roadmap. The participants concluded the necessity of the revision of the document.
The Steering Group members discussed the new funding opportunities of the EUSDR, related to PA5, such as the experiences of the 1st Call and the most important details of the forthcoming 2nd Call of the Danube Transnational Programme. The discussion was supported by colleagues from the DTP Joint Secretariat. The PA10 managed Danube Strategic Project Fund (DSPF) had been described as well and the Members were requested to find proper topics to support in this call. The DTP Seed Money Facility had been discussed and the PA5 suggestions for the priority topics were recorded for further commenting.
PA5 SG members agreed to scrutinize the possible future cooperation with the Carpathian Convention to utilize synergies and to make a decision during the forthcoming weeks about the official adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding document between the two organizations.
From the EU accessing countries of the Danube region Moldova and Ukraine were represented with the financial support of the Hungarian Priority area coordination. There was a high intention from the Ukraine attendees for further discussion about Solotvyno salt mine issues, fostering further steps on the development of water quality monitoring stations and the urgent prevention of possible risks.
The representatives of the relevant organizations – like the ICPDR, DSP, Carpathian Convention, Sava Commission – also reported about their activities in 2016. Furthermore the representative of the Joint Research Center of the EU joined the meeting through video conference to summarize their past activities in relation with the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) and the latest and forthcoming developments.
Four project initiatives were introduced to the participants: DAREFFORT, Danube Floodplain, Oasis, Danubius TQM project concepts. Three ongoing projects made a progress report: Danube Sediment, DRiDanube and JoinTisza. These have been already selected by the DTP for funding and they were developed by the project partners with the assistance of EUSDR PA5 in line with PA5 objectives. All the presentations of the meeting can be found in the website.