Today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Anže Logar, officially opened the 6th Forum of the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (EUSAIR), which is the final act of Slovenia’s one-year presidency of the Strategy and Regional Adriatic-Ionian Initiative. In his address, Minister Logar emphasized that Slovenia, despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, managed to achieve all the set goals and introduce some innovations. “Only connected and responsible for the environment can we contribute to the green and smart development and recovery of the Union,” Logar stressed.
Green connectivity has been the main thread of the Slovenian Presidency during the past year. Joint efforts for a green and smart post-pandemic recovery are also undertaken by the Western Balkan countries, which participate equally in the Strategy, making a valuable contribution to the Union’s enlargement policy, underlined Minister Logar.
As part of the Forum, Minister Logar hosted a meeting of foreign ministers of the Member States of the Adriatic and Ionian Region, which led to the production of the Izola Declaration. The foreign ministers agreed that a common European response and cooperation between the countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Region is essential for the social and economic recovery following the pandemic. The Izola Declaration places particular emphasis on the commitment undertaken by the participating countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII) or EUSAIR to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries and their stability, economic development, and the strengthening of democratic institutions. Particular attention is devoted to the importance of good neighbourly relations and political dialogue between the members as a way of resolving outstanding issues. The focus is also on the situation of the younger generation, which has been particularly hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first time, the honorary title of “Ambassador of the EU Macro-Regional Strategy – Windmill of Excellence” will be awarded to six civil society representatives from the participating countries who have contributed the most to the expansion of macro-regional cooperation. Prizes will also be awarded to the best young people who took part in a cross-regional competition in entrepreneurial ideas.
Together with European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreiro, State Secretary at the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy Monika Kirbiš, and the incoming President, Albanian Foreign Minister Olta Xhaçka, Minister Logar took part in the press conference for journalists from the countries of the region.
This year, the Forum is taking place from 11 to 12 May 2021 in a hybrid form under the slogan “Along the coasts of the shared sea”. The event aims to present the key substantive achievements of individual EUSAIR pillars, adopt a joint declaration containing fundamental political orientations for further work, and hand over the Presidency to the next country, Albania./ibna