EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region

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    The Commission adopted a new cross-border cooperation programme for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro worth around €67 million, with €57 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.

    The programme aims to improve the quality of common public services in the region, to promote the development of sustainable tourism activities and to boost the competitiveness of local businesses.      

    The programme will also help reach the objectives of the South East Europe 2020 Strategy, of the EU macro-regional Strategy for the Danube Region and of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region.   

    The five main priorities of the programme are:

    1. Improving the quality of services in public health and social care in the programme area.
    2. Protecting the environment, improving risk prevention and promoting energy efficiency.
    3. Contributing to the development of tourism and to the preservation of the region's cultural and natural heritage.
    4. Enhancing the economic competitiveness of the region
    5. Providing technical assistance to increase the efficiency of the management and implementation of the Programme.

    More information:

    The European Commission adopted today the new transnational cooperation programme "Interreg V B Adriatic-Ionian (ADRION)", worth more than €83.4 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and almost €16 million from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II). The total value of the cooperation programme, with national contributions included, is €118 million.

    The Programme will support the implementation of the priorities of the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (EUSAIR).  It will enhance economic, social, and territorial cohesion in the region. The programme's geographical area is identical to the area covered by the EUSAIR, involving four EU countries (Greece, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia), with the participation of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.

    Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “This programme has been designed to directly contribute to the successful implementation of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region, exploiting and protecting the rich natural, cultural and human potential of the region. It will have a tangible and positive impact on the regional economy, with a special focus on enhanced innovation and research capacities."

    The programme will boost the region's capacity to protect its natural assets. Thanks to the programme, the Adriatic and Ionian area will also benefit from a more integrated transport and mobility system. Finally, strengthening administrative capacity in the region is also one of the focuses of the programme.

    More information:

    EU Macro-Regional Strategies are pioneering a new model of cooperation across Europe. As the Commission is working on a proposal for the fourth such Strategy - for the Alpine Region, Euronews Real Economy magazine looks at this new trend which is changing the way regions work together across EU and non-EU borders, discussing the issue with European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu.

    Real Economy reports from Croatia – a country participating in two Macro-Regional Strategies – for the Danube and Adriatic-Ionian regions. The episode assesses the success and challenges the Strategies are helping to overcome. With 'Sustainable tourism' as one of the pillars of the Adriatic and Ionian Strategy, Croatian Minister of Tourism, Darko Lorencin underlines the importance of boosting competitiveness and of strengthening national administrations to enable them to realise these Strategies' programmes.

    Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Creţu explains that while the macro-regional approach is not about creating new institutions or new legislation, it provides the platform for common actions and facilitates an exchange of information, best practice and experience. Importantly, it allows participating countries to learn from each other and to focus on a few key priorities that will bring real results and benefits to the everyday lives of the macro-regions' citizens.

    Watch all Real Economy episodes

    EU Macro-Regional Strategies

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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

To get in contact with the team in DG REGIO please send an e-mail to