Ukraine has become the first non-EU country to chair the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.
According to an Ukrinform correspondent, the solemn transfer of EUSDR presidency from Slovakia to Ukraine took place on Wednesday at the end of the 10th EUSDR Annual Forum, held in Bratislava on October 26-27.
Ukraine will preside over the Strategy for a one-year period - until November 2022 - and will be responsible for identifying priority areas of cooperation within the initiative.
Speaking at the forum in Bratislava, Deputy Minister for Communities and Territories Development Ihor Korkhovyi said that Ukraine's presidency will focus on how to strengthen cooperation between the countries of the Danube region within the EUSDR to get mutual benefit.
"We will work to find a mutually beneficial situation so that everyone can be effective and efficient. Ukraine needs to get something, and the EU Strategy also needs to get something from Ukraine," he said.
Korkhovyi noted that Ukraine has made great progress in the field of digitalization, and this is a strategic priority for the country's development. According to him, "we have already achieved a lot and can share a lot in this area."
Ukraine's presidency of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region will also pay close attention to addressing the important issue of climate change and global warming. "Green transformation and decarbonisation is a thematic process of our program and a key issue for next year," Korkhovyi said.
He emphasized the importance for Ukraine of studying the experience of neighbors in the region, including the Western Balkan countries that are "one step ahead of us in terms of European integration." He added that within the EUSDR Ukraine will look for opportunities to improve mutually beneficial cooperation with these countries.
The Danube Strategy is a platform and action plan for cooperation between 14 countries. They interact in the areas of navigation, environmental protection, in particular aquatic ecosystems, including the conservation of living aquatic resources. The Ukrainian part of the Strategy covers the Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, and Zakarpattia regions.