EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region

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    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

    A high-level conference in Brussels, on 18 November 2014, launched the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR). The conference was organised by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in cooperation with the European Commission and together with the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and the Italian Marche Region - in its capacity of Chair of the EU Committee of the Regions' Adriatic-Ionian Interregional Group.

    Around 500 participants attended, including national and regional authorities responsible for the EUSAIR and the management of EU funds, EU institutions, and other stakeholders. Key speakers in the conference were the Ministers of Foreign Affairs or their deputies of the eight participating countries, alongside Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu, and Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.

    The new logo and website of the Strategy were presented in the conference.

    To find out more, take a look to the Conference Report and its enclosed Joint Statement on governance.

    More information:

    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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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 www.adriatic-ionian.eu

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