THE DANUBE TECH VALLEY INITIATIVE

The Central European contribution to making Europe stronger

1. We – the Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, and GLOBSEC – have met today in the context of today’s GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum and discussed policies for a stronger, more competitive, and more innovative Europe, particularly the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region.

2. We meet today at a critical juncture for policymaking. The effects of the global pandemic of COVID-19, followed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, mark the beginning of a new geopolitical era. This moment presents a rare historical opportunity for CEE to transform its growth strategy, to achieve greater prosperity, and sustainability, reconstructing the region into a home of talent and innovation. We are joining forces to help drive regional economic development and upgrade the region’s position both within Europe and on the global stage.

3. Innovation is fundamental to unlocking the region’s competitiveness. The countries along the Danube River contain a unique combination of traditional industries, corporations, and startups. They further exhibit economic, societal, and demographic conditions highly compatible with the development of next-generation technologies across a number of sectors as well as the deployment of Industry 4.0 technologies to accelerate smart, sustainable, and equitable growth. These shared endowments, core competencies, and flagship industries, together with the commitments within the Next Generation EU agreement, present a policy opportunity for regional cross-border cooperation and shared approaches to the tech-driven transformation of the region. The region has the necessary preconditions to become the hotbed of innovation spearheaded by home-grown talent, but also tightly embedded into the global networks of innovation. To achieve this goal, we, as close neighbours, need to work together to create a multilateral, participative ecosystem of innovation and shared prosperity.

4. To these ends, the Federal Chancellor of Austria and the Prime Minister of Slovakia welcome the DTVI launched by GLOBSEC. The DTVI will be a voluntary, inclusive, and open platform facilitating bottom-up cross-border interactions and initiatives among diverse stakeholders in the Danube Region including, among others, local and regional governments, research institutes and universities, start-ups, and established corporations. The primary goal is to bolster and accelerate the innovation potential of the Danube Region through cooperation. The DTVI does not aim to replace existing cross-border initiatives or compete with them but rather to bridge and reinforce them.

5. The DTVI will serve as a catalyst for policy action arising from regional cooperation. Furthermore, the DTVI will unite various stakeholders to identify policy areas that will make CEE more competitive, innovative, and sustainable. Within the DTVI, we will enable policy conditions and create incentives for innovation-led growth.

6. Given the timeliness and importance of DTVI, the governments promote the DTVI and will encourage the participation of other governments of the Region. GLOBSEC will act as a DTVI facilitator and support it through the development of policy ideas based on evidence-based research and multi-stakeholder engagement, serving as a point of coordination and information, keeping all partners involved.