Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Dear Sir/ Madam,
I would like to introduce a short booklet about an international association, its members and their main activities. Danube Chambers of Commerce Association (DCCA) was established 30 June 2010 in Budapest, few months earlier then another macro-regional approach taken – the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, IntRoDUCtIon following the steps of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, and its supporting network based on the cooperation of Chambers. The Danube, Europe’s second longest river at around 2 850 km, links the Black Forest to the Black Sea and runs through ten countries, with four more in its basin. The Danube Region is a region of great diversity – geographically, ecologically, culturally and in terms of economic development. Danube Chambers of Commerce Association is an organization to harmonize the activity of the chambers along the Danube region in consideration of the Danube Strategy, attend to the interest of the area’s enterprises. DCCA’s mission is to create a single platform of economic opportunities enhancing the economic – financial cooperation, strengthening the cohesion between the entrepreneurs and enterprises operating in different countries of the macro-region, along horizontal principles. The Association is model of the cross-border macro-regional institutional cooperation, which aim is to revive the region’s economy and competitiveness and at last but not least to increase the welfare of the inhabitants.
The Danube’s tender ripples which compose Past, present, future, hold each other fast. (Attila József: By the Danube, translated by Vernon Phillips Watkins) the Strategy of the Danube Chambers of Commerce Association is based on the following principles:

• Participation in the development of the principles of the Danube Strategy (EUSDR)

• Information circulation, initiatives, integration and cohesion Providing members of the association’s chambers with useful information Building relationships among members Knowledge transfer, education and dissemination of advanced business culture

• Participation in the Danube Strategy’s Danube transnational Program Access to available EU funding for participating chambers enabling cooperation between members

• Promoting and advocacy of interests “For coordination and cooperation, it’s vital to get the right people involved from the start from the right countries, regions and associations. They must drive the process, with some countries taking the lead on certain issues and creating the right cooperation networks.” said the European Commision. We all have a great vision of Danube Region, how it will looks like within 5, 10, 20 or 50 years. This is a historic opportunity to actively take part of brainstorming, planning actions and implement those actions to help by the development of the region and create a prosperous Danube region. The Danube Chambers of Commerce Association is an excellent tool for promoting good neighbourhood relations in Central Europe. Working on shared actions could help to establish closer relations and confidence by contributing to the major improvement of relations between states. The initiatives, ideas, actions of chambers, ministries, professional organisations, reserch institutions, academics and civil society transformed to a well prepared cooperation mechanism will translate into practically implemented answers. To make the EU Strategy for the Danube Region a success, many different institutional actors have come on board to contribute their expertise. Therefore chambers need a strong and operative network which can provide the possibility of economic cohesion and act as an engine of an economy sustainable development for future generations – the Danube Chambers of Commerce Association can be a provider of efficient solutions of common key challenges.

Dr. Zoltán Kiss
President of BCCI

Curriculum Vitae_Zoltan Kiss

Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Macro-regional strategies comprise a cooperation platform through which countries and regions – from the EU and beyond – join forces on a selected number of key challenges to meet the regions’ needs.

The regional chambers within the Danube region were aware both about the potentials and bottlenecks, so started a closer cooperation and formed their network of Danube Chambers of Commerce Association in June, 2010.

Right after that movement, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) was officially launched by the European Commission and endorsed by the European Council in 2011.

Although the countries are different in terms of economic strength, the region is strongly interlinked, with potential for further integration and growth. It has a strategic position, opening up the EU to its neighbours. It hosts the world’s most international river, the Danube, which is a major transport axis, a crucial interconnected hydrological basin, and an ecological corridor as well. Thus, the region is connected through both opportunities and challenges. The policies of the countries are interdependent. However, they can all benefit greatly from improved cooperation in. The region’s competitiveness can also profit substantially from joint action in the fields of SMEs, labour market policies and education.

The Danube Region experiences very wide disparities, being home of the most successful regions in the European Union, as well as some of the poorest pre-accession or neighbourhood countries. In particular, contacts and cooperation are often lacking, both financially and institutionally. Enterprises do not sufficiently exploit the international dimension of marketing, innovation or research. The share of highly educated people in the region is lower than the EU average, creating another pronounced divide. Thus, there are great opportunities to achieve results though cooperation and exchange of experience. Investment in people is needed to enable the region to progress sustainably and to grow, prioritising knowledge and inclusion. Targeted support for research infrastructure stimulates excellence and deepens networking between knowledge providers, companies and policy-makers. Clusters and links binding centres of excellence into existing education and research networks extend the competitiveness of upstream enterprises to the whole region. Higher levels of employment are crucial as people need opportunities close to where they live. The region must be able to offer bright and enterprising people a future through stronger cooperation.

With encouragement of research and innovation could help to overcome obstacles and improve social and economic development in the region. Our common aim should be to turn this area into a ‘region of innovation’ and to stimulate the development of a ‘knowledge society’ in an effort to make the Danube Region more attractive and competitive. One of the key activities is to provide wide-ranging information and stimulate political dialogue among the stakeholders in promoting research, science, development and innovation in the Danube Region.

The DCCA network is supporting those countries where the level of development, education and innovation are still not sufficiently advanced and which want to improve their capacity and national strategies in different fields.

The organization is a network of chambers, our objectives are focused on SME community and their interest – to support the labour market needs, reduce youth unemployment, and to overcome the lack of skilled labour that often undermines the economic development of certain regions and impedes investment.

With improvement of the system of dual vocational education in the whole region with project such as „Learning by Doing” originally based on the idea of DCCA network, where during the implementation every Danube country will provide help on international, national and local level by linking the business needs with qualified and skilled workforce.

The Danube Region Strategy (EUSDR) provides an integrated framework for countries and regions to address issues which cannot be handled in an isolated way, but instead require transnational strategic approaches, projects and networking. It enables better cooperation to improve the effectiveness, leverage and impact of policies utilising existing policies and programmes and creating synergies between them.

With projects and achievements exemplify the added value of the Danube Strategy and will provide further motivation for continuing to cooperate along this successful path in order to contribute to the balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth of the Danube Region.

Dr. József Vápár
Secretary General of DCCA

Curriculum Vitae_Jozsef Vapar

Danube Chambers of Commerce Association