On 13th of November 2018, the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT) hosted a conference in cooperation with the Danube Commission and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Danube Commission with the title of “Danube Commission 70 years -Inland Navigation: Diagnosis, Institutions and Visions in Europe”.
Márton Ugrósdy, the Director of IFAT and Péter Sztáray, State Secretary for Security Policy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hungary welcomed the guests of the event. Both told a personal story about their experiences with the Danube in order to emphasize the importance of Europe’s second largest river. Mr. Sztáray highlighted Hungary’s commitment to improve inland waterway navigation and its promotion on the political level. Then Oleg Tulea, Vice-President of the Danube Commission and Karla Peijs, Coordinator of the Rhein-Danube Core Network Corridor held their keynote speeches, in which they directed the attention to the cooperation in order to improve the work within the framework of the EU and to be able to install reforms within the region.
The keynote speeches were followed by two panel discussions. In the first panel, experts from various fields of inland transportation discussed the challenges and opportunities of the sector. They emphasized the right use of resources and the urgent need to solve the problem of navigability, while they pointed out the market opportunities for small and medium sized businesses among the transport industry. The topic of the second panel was the visions for future of the Danube and inland navigation. The discussants all agreed on the importance of cooperation not just among member states, other international organizations and the European Union, but with other stakeholders of the transportation sector. They highlighted the importance of modern infrastructure and environmental friendly options in order to make this cooperation more interesting. The panel discussions were followed by a Q+A session. A wide range of issues was touched upon, including how inland transportation could be made more attractive to the youth, the aspects of digitalization, the development of infrastructure and connection with other water transport systems.
Iván Gyurcsík, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the Danube Commission concluded the conference with his closing remarks highlighting the most important questions of the conference and the main tasks of the Danube Commission for the future.