Million-euro Danube plan will create 'green showcase': WWF

Conservation group WWF on Friday hailed a 100 billion euro boost for Europe's Danube region, saying the EU plan would "showcase a modern, green society."

The EU Danube Strategy, aimed at protecting the region while developing its economic potential, was expected to win endorsement Friday at the EU summit in Brussels.

"A hundred million euros ($140 million) properly invested has the potential to transform the Danube region into a showcase of a modern, prosperous and green society that develops together and protects its enormous natural capital, instead of destroying it," the WWF said.

WWF freshwater policy officer Sergey Moroz, based in Sofia, said investment was needed to restore floodplains, protect biodiversity and create more energy-efficient buildings.

The sum has already been allocated to the region from the EU Cohesion Fund covering the 2007-13 period.

"There is a huge potential out there; it is up to us to build on it or destroy it," Moroz said in a statement.

The strategy has been a key priority for Hungary during its EU presidency ending June 30.

The programme includes Hungary and fellow EU members Germany, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria, as well as six others - Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova and Ukraine.