On 6 November, the first Routes4U meeting for the Danube Region (EUSDR) took place in Bucharest, Romania. Over 70 participants from national and regional institution from the EU macro-region, as well as Cultural Routes certified by the Council of Europe and projects, contributed to identify the regional needs of the Danube Region in the framework of the Routes4U Project.
Diana Tenea, General Director of the Romanian Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration, co-organiser of the event, stressed during the opening that:
"The Routes4U conference (...) promotes the Danube as a destination through macro-regional Cultural Routes at a time when we need to strenghten the role of culture in territorial development"
During its intervention, Stefano Dominioni, Executive Secretary of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, underlined the importance of the Council of Europe values, especially in the current political situation:
“Today, the [Cultural Routes] programme is more important than ever. [...] It's a tool to promote access to cultural heritage, democratic citizenship but also intercultural dialogue.”
Participants exchanged ideas during the workshops dedicated to "Sustainable development through cultural tourism: building prosperity in the Danube Region", "Participative and transnational story-telling: cultural heritage for connecting the Danube Region" and " Marketing strategies for the promotion and visibility of cultural heritage". They were respectively moderated by Darja RADIĆ, former Slovenian Ministry of Economy and Lecturer on Tourism and destination marketing, micro-economics and entrepreneurship; Miloš VUKANOVIĆ, Deputy Director of the National Museum of Montenegro and Program coordinator of the Association of History Educators of Montenegro and Katalin NAGY, Master Lecturer on tourism at Miskolc University, Hungary.
During the panel discussion, representatives of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe talked about their activities in the Danube Region (European Cemeteries Route, Iter Vitis Route, Réseau Art Nouveau Network, Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route and TRANSROMANICA – the Romanesque Routes of European Heritage) . Several projects with a macro-regional focus presented their proposals as "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" (Danube Women Stories, European Cultural Route of Saints Cyril and Methodius, European Reformation Route, Iron Age Danube, Nikola Tesla Ways and Via Memoria Mauthausen). Following the Routes4U panel discussion, macro-regional priorities regarding certified Cultural Routes and projects will be further discussed and identified.
The meeting was also the opportunity to explore further cooperation with the Danube Culture Platform and better understand funding opportunities in the Danube Region (Regional Cooperation Council, Danube Transnational Programme and EuroAccess).
The recommendations made by the experts and participants during the Routes4U meeting will be publish in the "Roadmap for the Danube Region". The publication will consolidate the implementation of the Cultural Routes programme in the Danube Region, especially regarding the EUSDR Priority Area 3: Culture and Tourism.