In December 2012 the European Commission proposed to create a new transnational cooperation programme for the 2014-2020 period. The Danube programme area includes Austria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Germany (Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria) not whole territory); Hungary; the Republic of Moldova; Montenegro; Romania; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Ukraine (not whole territory).

The preparation of the new programme is conducted by the Programming Task Force: a committee of representatives from all the Danube partner states’. The Task Force was funded in February 2013 and it had four meetings so far. The main aim of the work of the Task Force is to develop the Danube Operational Programme, which will serve as a basic document for the implementation of the transnational programme. The Task Force makes its decisions on the basis of consensus.

The geography of the new Danube programme matches exactly the territory of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region adopted in 2011. The macro-regional strategy and the transnational programme are two different instruments developed for similar aims but acting on different levels and principles. Their matching territory and goals provide great opportunities for cooperation between the two: besides contributing to the Strategy’s thematic goals by realizing relevant cooperation projects, the programme might also support the institutional cooperation of stakeholders and institutions of the Danube Strategy.

Thematic priorities of the Danube programme will be defined in line with the relevant draft EC legislation, the national priorities of Partner States, and reflect the needs of the programme area. Topics to be addressed by programme priorities may include many of traditional transnational cooperation topics, like innovation, transport, environment, etc.

Implementation of the programme will be coordinated by joint structures set up in Budapest, Hungary. Implementing structures of the programme are designed in a new institutional setup, taking into account simplification and transnationality as guiding principles.