The International Conference on "The Future of the Lower Danube: Regional Economic Encouragement – Inteligent Cities – New Infrastructure" was held at the Tsenov Academy of Economics. The large-scale forum was organised by the Federation of Scientific Unions, the Union of Economists in Bulgaria (UEB), the Tsenov Academy of Economics, the Government of Baden Vurtenberg – Germany, the "Konrad Adenauer" Foundation, the Association of Danube Municipalities in Bulgaria - "Danube" – and the National Cluster for Intelligent Transport and Energy Systems (NCITES) - Bulgaria. The conference was attended by guests from Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Georgia, representatives from the Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDRW), governors and mayors from the Danube regions, representatives of NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and academic professors. The conference was held in parallel in English, German and Bulgarian with simultaneous translation, thanks to the excellent facilities provided by the host - the Tsenov Academy of Economics.

The international conference on regional development, located in the lower part of the river, was organised into three panel discussions - "Regional Economic Development", "Inteligent Cities" and "New Infrastructure". In separate panels the future integration of the regions along the Danube were discussed, improvement in the investment environment, the need for more economic independence for Bulgarian municipalities, the creation of a favourable environment for cooperation, and  the investment and exploitation of the potential of the regions.

In a presentation entitled "The Danube Strategy of the European Union: preconditions and development prospects", Peter Langer said the "Blue Danube" should build treatment plants along the river. Tamara Kuleva from MRDPW presented the Operational Programme "Regions in Growth" and development opportunities for the Lower Danube. The Commercial Director of the Dutch company, Martine Claver, commented on the project realised in South Bulgaria for "Innovative green technologies: a project for the production of biogas from animal waste" which she said is suitable for agricultural regions near the Lower Danube. Prof. Wolfgang Kuhnel, PhD from Switzerland spoke about "Passive houses in a Inteligent city" and engineer Dimitar Ivanov presented the "Concept and objectives of the National Cluster: Intelligent transport systems in cities."

From the Academy of Economics, Prof. Andrey Zahariev, PhD, gave a presentation entitled "The state and prospects of the infrastructure in Danube municipalities" where he justified the need for priority public and private investments in order to overcome the shortage of transport options in the Bulgarian-Romanian section of the Danube River.

At the closing session, participants in the international conference discussed and adopted the "Charter for the accelerated and sustainable development of the regions of the Lower Danube"/” Charter for the development of the Lower Danube". In this document the conviction was expressed that regional integration along the Danube is a prerequisite for the implementation of a uniform policy for economic growth.


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