6. Water services are strongly dependent on the political, socioeconomic, and natural context in which they are delivered. Following the collapse of socialist systems, most countries of the Danube region have shared a common political and economic development transition path over the last few decades, with the European Union (EU) integration agenda an overarching aim in almost all countries of the region. Major differences among countries still remain, but those differences are gradually diminishing, and a convergence toward EU standards is occurring. The region is also generally well endowed with water resources, despite the potential impact of climate change.

7. This chapter looks at the political-economic-social context in which water service provision in the region is taking place; it describes the historical perspective and development, analyzes the socioeconomic situation in different countries, and describes the richness and diversity of water resources, with consideration for expected climatic changes and their potential impact.

8. The data and information used in this chapter come mainly from World-Bank elaborated/collected data, including World Development Indicators, but also include publicly available United Nations Development Program (UNDP), European Commission (EC), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) publications and databases. The information is complemented by a country-by-country data collection effort (referenced as “SoS data collection” in the text) that relies primarily on country-level public sources, and is fully referenced in the country pages at the end of this report.