|The Danube Cooperation Process (DCP)|
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The Danube Cooperation Process (DCP) is a political and diplomatic initiative aimed at “giving a new political impetus to the strengthening and development of multilateral relations among Danubian countries, without creating new institutions”. All Danubian countries and some EU candidate countries participate in the process based on an initiative launched by Austria, Romania, European Commission and the Stability Pact in June 2001. It was formally established at the First Ministerial Conference held in Vienna on 27 May 2002. The DCP participants include 13 countries of the Danube basin (FR Germany, Austria, Czech, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine), European Commission and the Regional Cooperation Council.
The establishment of the DCP, as a political, diplomatic and economic consultative forum complementary to the existing regional mechanisms and initiatives, contributes to the promotion of cooperation and relations in the Danube region. It is also in line with the Euro-Atlantic integration processes. Broadly based and well established DCP platform, interest of key international factors (USA, EU and international organizations), and interest expressed by participating countries in regional and sub-regional forms of cooperation, are main features of the Initiative. The promotion of the commitment of the countries of the region to the respect and fostering of democratic principles and values, full respect for national, religious and cultural identity, orientation towards economic development and integration of the region into European structures are thus voiced through the DCP.
The principal documents defining the strategic directions of the DCP are the Joint Declaration and the Principles and working methods for the DCP operation. The Declaration establishes “the process of political and economic cooperation of the Danube River States aimed at the promotion and intensification of their cooperation in many areas of common political, economic and cultural interest”. The Process is not a new, institutionalized form of cooperation, nor a duplication of already existing organizations and regional structures, but a cooperative effort to achieve progress in democratization, economic development and further EU structures integration of the region through joint cooperation and in coordination and collaboration with the existing regional organizations and initiatives.
The DCP is being implemented through the diplomatic, political and business dimensions according to the professed goals. In between two DCP Ministerial Conferences, meetings of MFA representatives of DCP participating states are held with the aim to consider activities in DCP goals implementation, explore possibilities for further encouragement, identify possible problems and discuss ways to overcome them but also supplement the priority list as required.
The Republic of Serbia took an active part in all DCP Conferences so far. It was Chair of DCP in the period from 2005 to 2007, which ended by a successful organization of the Third Ministerial Conference in Belgrade, on 18 April 2007.
This initiative has lost its particularity and its activities, in a broader European context, have been taken by the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region.