First Forum of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region
Representatives of the eight participating countries have now a stable platform where they gather together to define the priorities for their joint work in the four thematic pillars of the Strategy: 1) Blue Growth; 2) Connecting the Region; 3) Environmental Quality; 4) Sustainable tourism and therefore the moto of this Forum was: 8 countries, 70 million people, one strategy.
The Foreign Ministers and the national authorities responsible for EU funds of the States involved, as well as the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy were among the speakers of the conference.
The event provided possibilities for networking (B2B) hosted by the Croatian Chamber of Economy, and represented a great opportunity to reach out to a wide range of stakeholders from the Region, including national, regional and local administrations, the business sector, the academia and the civil society at large.
The EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian region has been established with the aim of better cooperation between the countries on the territory of the Adriatic-Ionian region - four EU Member States and four non-EU Member States. In 2016, when the Republic of Croatia co-chairs the Steering Committee of the Strategy, special emphasis is placed on strategic projects that have a strong transnational impact on all countries in the region, availability and attractiveness of the macro-region, development of energy networks, competitiveness of small and medium enterprises and education as a horizontal priority.
Mr Miro Kovač, Chairman of the Conference and Croatian Minister of foreign affairs, in his addressing said that now more than ever we need to work together in order to reach common goals. Countries that are already in the EU and countries that are on the way to the EU share common challenges and that we are here to offer innovative solutions for empowering small and medium entrepreneurship. He also said that it's crucial for all to go beyond their comfort zone and that by standing together in challenges with solidarity we can achieve much more.
Ms Corina Cretu, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, stated that she believes that this macro-regional strategy has great potential, not only for increased competitiveness and connectivity in the region, but also for integration. The EUSAIR promotes cooperation between EU and non-EU countries alike, to ensure that no one is left behind on the path to prosperity.
During the Forum, the Dubrovnik Declaration was adopted by the representatives of the Governments of participating countries. The text of the Declaration is available here.
SEECEL was represented by SEECEL's Director, Ms Efka Heder and Sonja Šegvić, Office and Event Manager.