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EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region

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Launch of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) – Statements by Commissioner Creţu and Commissioner Vella

On occasion of the launch of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region in the Square Conference Centre in Brussels on 18 November, Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "The Strategy aims at revitalizing the Adriatic and Ionian Region. It will enhance its economic development through four priorities: first, seize the opportunities offered by the "Blue Growth", i.e. by the assets of this large maritime area. Second, connect the Region and facilitate exchanges by land and by sea. Third, protect the biodiversity and safeguard the natural areas of great values. Fourth, promote sustainable tourism. In order to address these priorities, there is a need for appropriate governance; this is why the Commission, with its national partners, is setting up a framework for effective governance and management. But I want to stress that this Strategy is far from being only about socio-economic development, or governance. It is about reinforcing the process of European integration. It is about strengthening the ties between the Member States and also about bringing the participating candidate and potential candidate countries closer to the EU. The European Structural and Investment Funds in general, and Cohesion Policy in particular, are ready for supporting the Strategy."

Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said on the same occasion: “This is a key moment for the prosperity of the Adriatic-Ionian region. A clean and innovative use of the Adriatic Sea will allow both the people and the environment to thrive. The potential for coastal cooperation in the region could become an example across the EU. A coordinated strategy will ensure 'blue growth' built on a commitment to good environmental standards. Our action plan would include measures such as reducing marine litter, promotion of the 'guardians of the sea' initiative, and allow the pooling of cutting-edge ocean research.”

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Commissioners Hahn and Damanaki welcome endorsement of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region by Europe's leaders

Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn and Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki have welcomed the green light given today by Europe's leaders for the new EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR), which was proposed by the Commission last June.


The latest macro-regional Strategy will see Croatia, Greece, Italy and Slovenia cooperating closely with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia on challenges common to the region, representing an important step in the EU integration of the Western Balkan States.

"Success in the Adriatic Ionian Region will contribute to the prosperity and security of Europe as a whole", said Commissioner Hahn, while Commissioner Damanaki hailed the new Strategy as a "blueprint for future initiatives in the sea basin." 

Press release

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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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 (EUSAIR) before the end of 2014.

Building on the lessons learnt and experience from the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the 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 Strategy incorporates the Maritime Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, adopted by the Commission on 30 November 2012.

The Strategy was endorsed by the General Affairs Council on 29 September (see Council Conclusions) and subsequently by the European Council on 24 October 2014.

For news and information on the activities and progress of the Strategy, please visit the EUSAIR's dedicated website


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