Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and GLOBSEC have issued the first-ever joint statement on the Danube Tech Valley (DTVI) initiative, which aims to accelerate innovation potential in the Danube region.

All three parties involved in the declaration agreed that the aggressive war in Ukraine is bringing attention to our region, which needs to be seized. The initiative shows that both countries want to create the conditions for a stronger, more competitive and more innovative Europe, especially in the region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The joint initiative is particularly interesting in that the DTVI is the first initiative of its kind at the level of the representatives of the governments of Austria and Slovakia.

What is the goal?

“The goal of the GLOBSEC Danube Tech Valley Initiative is to accelerate the innovation potential of the Danube region. Due to the unprecedented interest in this region in relation to the Russian aggression in Ukraine, there is an increased potential of the CEE countries as a possible focus of innovation and cross-border cooperation,”explains Robert Vass, founder and president of GLOBSEC.

In the context of the future integration of the countries of the region into the EU, it will be important to explore ways in which the DTVI initiative could mobilize innovation potential within the EU’s wider neighborhood (Western Balkans, Ukraine).

Historical cooperation

In a statement, stakeholders pledged that the war in Ukraine represents a rare historical opportunity for CEE to transform its growth strategy, achieve greater prosperity and sustainability, and reconstruct the region into a home of talent and innovation. “We are joining forces to help support regional economic development and improve the region’s position within Europe and on the global stage,” the joint statement said.

The potential of the Danube

Innovation is the basis for unleashing the region’s competitiveness. The countries along the Danube contain a unique combination of traditional industries, corporations and startups. Furthermore, they show economic, social and demographic conditions highly compatible with the development of next-generation technologies in many sectors, as well as with the deployment of Industry 4.0 technologies to accelerate smart, sustainable and equitable growth.

These common subsidies, key competences and key industries, together with the commitments under the new generation EU agreement, represent a political opportunity for regional cross-border cooperation and shared approaches to technology-based region transformation.

“The region has the prerequisites to become a breeding ground for innovation, led by domestic talent, but at the same time it is firmly integrated into global innovation networks. To achieve this, we, as close neighbors, must work together to create a multilateral, participatory ecosystem of innovation and shared prosperity,” the statement said.

Other governments can join

“DTVI will serve as a catalyst for policy measures resulting from regional cooperation. In addition, DTVI will bring together different stakeholders to identify policy areas that will make CEE more competitive, innovative and sustainable. Within DTVI, we will enable favorable conditions and create incentives for growth based on innovation,” says KatarínaCséfalvayová, who leads the DTVI initiative.

Given the timeliness and importance of DTVI, governments promote DTVI and encourage the participation of other governments in the region. GLOBSEC will act as a facilitator of the DTVI and will support it through the development of evidence-based research-based policy ideas and multi-stakeholder involvement, serving as a point of coordination and information, involving all partners.

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