Europe`s strength should flourish again. Counting on citizens supports

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I also have personal memories related to the Danube – I have this phrase from geography coming from my mother and I also went to Bratislava. For many years I could not go to Austria because it was just not possible and we often went from Berlin to Prague, or from Berlin to Bratislava or to Budapest or Bucharest and then we went South-Eastern Europe and especially in a lot of along the Danube and the Pyrenees Mountains and of course we are looking to Greece where I would really want to go. That’s how it was like back then. We are often asked what the European Union means for its citizens and I think this regional strategy has a great importance because you can look at this river and you wonder how does it look like 1000 or 2000 km on. Commissioner Hahn is the one in charge of structural funds that target such regional cooperation. My contribution, I could say can only be that I am working to build a very good multiannual financial framework and as Commissioner Hahn has already pointed out, it is not always about the amounts of euro that we have but about the intelligent spending and how we can make the people understand that, as well as the resulted benefits.

We are often asked what the European Union means for its citizens and I think this regional strategy has a great importance because you can look at this river and you wonder how does it look like 1000 or 2000 km on. Commissioner Hahn is the one in charge of structural funds that target such regional cooperation. My contribution, I could say can only be that I am working to build a very good multiannual financial framework and as Commissioner Hahn has already pointed out, it is not always about the amounts of euro that we have but about the intelligent spending and how we can make the people understand that, as well as the resulted benefits.

The Danube River is a very important link between the East and the West. The disasters of the 20th century were really catastrophic and we were really fortunate to have reunited many of the things that have been separated for decades, but still we have very different levels of welfare and ways of life along the river. Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia are countries that still have a little bit of catching up to do in terms of economy. They work very hard to catch up, they very committed to reforms, maybe more committed that we can be, so there is a very interesting dynamic in this context.

In Europe we are trying to enhance competitiveness and economic development. Rivers are good symbols in this context, especially right now when we are trying to solve problems through cooperation.” said Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in her speech for the First Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.

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