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EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region



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All aboard for a new Adriatic and Ionian Macro-Region: The Commission brings countries closer together

The European Commission has today officially launched a new EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region in the form of a Communication and an Action Plan, to help its 70 million residents to reap the benefit of closer cooperation in areas like promoting the maritime economy, preserving the marine environment, completing transport and energy links and boosting sustainable tourism.

The Strategy will also provide a valuable opportunity for would-be members and candidates of the EU to work alongside EU members, in particular contributing to the integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union.

This is the first EU 'macro-regional strategy' with such a large proportion of non-EU countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia) cooperating with EU members (Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Slovenia). The Strategy mainly revolves around the opportunities of the maritime economy - 'blue growth', land-sea transport, energy connectivity, protecting the environment and sustainable tourism – sectors that are bound to play a crucial role in creating jobs and boosting economic growth in the region. The starting point for this is the Maritime Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, adopted by the Commission on 30 November 2012 and now incorporated into the Strategy.

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Commission launches discussion on governance of Macro-Regional Strategies

The European Commission has today published a report on the governance of the EU's Macro-Regional Strategies. The cooperation method of these Strategies has gained impetus and support across Europe since the first for the Baltic Sea Region was adopted in 2009. Common challenges are tackled by a number of countries - both EU and non EU members- working together, streamlining their resources to ensure an effective and joined -up response.

But today's report shows that while the results of individual projects and initiatives in the Baltic Sea and Danube regions are positive – even more  political leadership and clearer decision-making is needed to build on the progress so far.

The report recommends changes to improve the impact, results and the sustainability of existing, and particularly future strategies – such as that of the Adriatic-Ionian and Alpine Regions which European Countries have asked for and should be adopted formally later this. This concerns primarily national and regional administrations, but also a wider range of stakeholders, and the European Commission itself.

Next month Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will attend the Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (3-4 June in Turku) and Forum on the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (26-27. June in Vienna). Also a Communication and Action Plan for the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) will be adopted by the Commission in June 2014.

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Outcomes of the Stakeholder Conference on the EU Strategy for the Adriatic Ionian Region

On the 6-7th of February, the city of Athens welcomed a high level Stakeholder Conference on the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, which gathered more than 650 participants, including the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, and the Greek Minister of Development and Competitiveness, Mr Kostis Hatzidakis, alongside the Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Maria Damanaki and the ministers of Foreign Affairs of the eight participating countries.

The two Plenary sessions and four parallel workshops on the proposed pillars of the future Strategy provided a good framework for in-depth discussions. The inputs will feed into a formal proposal of Strategy (in the form of a Communication and Action Plan) to be adopted by the European Commission in June 2014.

Previous News

The European Council of 13-14 December 2012 requested the European Commission to present a new EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region before the end of 2014.

Building on the lessons learnt and experience from the two current macro-regional strategies (EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EU Strategy for the Danube Region), the Commission adopted on 17 June 2014 a Communication on the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region, accompanied by an Action Plan . The new Strategy incorporates the Maritime Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, adopted by the Commission on 30 November 2012.

The Communication and Action Plan have been transmitted to the other EU institutions and bodies, and will be discussed in the Council during the second semester of 2014 with a view of its endorsement by the European Council before the end of the year.

For more information and background on the Strategy, please check the dedicated section in the INTERACT website.

Contacts

To get in contact with the team in DG REGIO please send an e-mail to REGIO-EU-ADRIATIC-IONIAN-STRATEGY@ec.europa.eu

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