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Second meeting of Committee of Senior Officials of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative

On Thursday, 11 February 2021, the second meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII) took place under the Slovenian chairmanship. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held via video conference.

Representatives from ten participating States (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, San Marino, and Slovenia) discussed the report on the work achieved by Slovenia’s AII Chairmanship since the committee’s first meeting held last year in late September, and an overview of events planned until the close of the chairmanship in May this year.

In the recent period, two round tables have been held, one on inter-university cooperation and the other on the functioning of the network of chambers of commerce, cities and universities within AII. The attendees of both round tables included representatives of the Slovenian economic sector, universities, cities, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The focus of presentations was on the functioning of these institutions against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Their functioning is a manifestation of the subsidiarity principle, one of the cornerstones of European integration. In the framework of the 5th Forum of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) held at the end of January this year, another three round tables on regional cooperation were organised, all in collaboration with the Permanent Secretariat in Ancona. Furthermore, a call for ideas and an award competition was launched for high school students, inviting them to submit contributions on cooperation and integration within the AII and Central European region.

A conference of presidents of parliaments of the AII member states is scheduled to take place in April under the Slovenian chairmanship and the final ministerial meeting is to take place in May, which will also involve the next meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials.

In addition to strengthening inter-ministerial cooperation, the main goal of the AII activities is to enhance the European perspective of the Western Balkans, which will also be one of the principal themes of the second Slovenian EU Council presidency.