EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region

The Adriatic and Ionian Region is a functional area primarily defined by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas basin. Covering also an important terrestrial surface area, this Region homes more than 70 million inhabitants. The EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region involves 9 countries, four EU Member States (Croatia, Greece, Italy, Slovenia) and five Accession Countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia Serbia).

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.

The European Commission coordinates the efforts of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region. For news and information on the activities and progress of the Strategy as curated by the various stakeholders, please visit the EUSAIR’s dedicated website at

The Strategy is divided into four pillars, which represent the three key challenges of the Strategy: Blue growth, Connecting the Region, Environmental quality, Sustainable tourism. Each pillar relates to a wide range of policies and has an impact on the other objectives. The Strategy helps to mobilise all relevant EU funding and policies and coordinate the actions of the European Union, EU countries, regions, pan-Adriatic & Ionian organisations, financing institutions and non-governmental bodies to promote a more balanced development of the Adriatic and Ionian Region.

The Adriatic and Ionian region defines several thematic areas:

  • Blue technologies
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Maritime and marine governance and services
  • Maritime transport
  • Intermodal connections to the hinterland
  • Energy networks
  • The Marine environment
  • Transnational terrestrial habitats and biodiversity
  • Diversified tourism offer
  • Sustainable and responsible tourism management

Better coordination and cooperation between the countries and regions is needed to address these challenges.

The Strategy does not come with extra EU finance but it is supported from the resources already available according to an integrated approach. Countries may also make use of the funding they receive through EU cohesion policy, other EU programmes and financial instruments, and various international financial institutions.
To know more about financial opportunities visit

  • Since 2013 until April 2020, half of the countries in the Adriatic and Ionian region have been EU countries. Currently the EUSAIR includes 4 EU MS and 5 accession countries.
  • Many of the problems are covered by EU policies.
  • As an independent player with respected authority, the EU is in a good position to facilitate cooperation.
  • The EU already runs programmes in the region and so can provide opportunities for cooperation.

As for the implementation, the Strategy will be based on the key principles applied for the existing macro-regional strategies: no new EU funds, no additional EU formal structures and no EU legislation, while relying on a coordinated approach, synergy effects and a more effective use of existing EU funds and other financial instruments. The aim is to produce a clear added value based on jointly identified objectives.

To get in contact with the EUSAIR team in DG REGIO, please email the secretary of the REGIO. DDG.D1 : For more information on how to get in contact with EUSAIR stakeholders, please visit the EUSAIR website.