The EUSAIR strategy is crucial for the further development of environmental projects in the Adriatic-Ionian region
The European macro-regional strategy EUSAIR is based on four thematic pillars, and Slovenia, on its behalf the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with key partners (Public Agency for Promotion of Entrepreneurship and Developing Projects of Municipality of Izola and the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy) is chairing the strategy until the end of May this year – The main topic of the presidency is “green integration” as Slovenia, together with Bosnia and Herzegovina, coordinates the environmental quality pillar, which aims to improve the quality of life on the coast by the common sea – The 6th Annual EUSAIR Forum in May will be organized in a hybrid or fully virtual format, but still rich in content.
During the press conference, representatives of the EUSAIR strategy presented the most important achievements during the Slovenian presidency to the media of nine EUSAIR countries (Greece, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, and Serbia). Special attention was paid to the pillar of environmental quality. Mitja Bricelj, Ph.D., co-coordinator of this pillar, presented the environmental issues within planning modern development in the region, which is reflected in the protection of marine resources, green infrastructure, and ecosystem services. He particularly highlighted innovative cross-border projects to take account of eco-corridors on land and at sea, integrated coastal management, spatial planning at sea, and the prevention of pollution from accidents at sea. All these projects, stated Bricelj, “make an important contribution to achieving the EU's goals within the framework of the Green Agreement and the Comprehensive Maritime Policy in the Adriatic-Ionian region”. He advocated for the further involvement of young people in the preparation and implementation of projects.
Ivana Stojanović, MSc, from the Ministry of Ecology, Spatial Planning and Urbanism of Montenegro presented the possibilities of co-financing projects within the framework of European, international, state, and private funds. Ivana Stojanović highlighted the European Structural and Investment Funds (so-called ESI Funds) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), which enable the acquisition of funds and a wide range of tools and opportunities for non-EU countries.
Regarding the content of co-financed projects, Iztok Škerlič, MSc, from the EUSAIR Facility Point Izola pointed out the orientation towards environmental topics. “As in the 2014-2020 programming period, in the Member States and candidate countries with IPA instruments for pre-accession cooperation in the next financial programming period 2021-2027, there are many opportunities to co-finance projects within the environmental quality pillar. Most of the funds in the new programming period are intended for environmental priorities,” said Iztok Škerlič.
At the end of the press conference, Andreja Jerina, MSc, National Coordinator for Macro-Regional Strategies in Slovenia and a member of the EUSAIR Management Board, announced the 6th Annual Forum, entitled “On the shores of the common sea”, to take place on 11 and 12 May in Izola, Slovenia. Due to the pandemic, it will take place in a hybrid or even completely virtual format; however, around 1000 participants are expected. The main topic will be climate challenges and the sustainable recovery of the region after the end of the pandemic. In addition to numerous panel discussions, the most successful and innovative entrepreneurial ideas will be highlighted within the POPRI project, the result of a competition of young people from all EUSAIR countries, the main organizer of which is the Slovenian Primorska Technology Park. On behalf of the Slovenian presidency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will for the first time award the honorary title of “Ambassador of the EU Macro-Regional Strategy – Windmill of Excellence” to civil society representatives who have been able to upgrade their rich experience in developing macro-regional strategies in pursuit of the common good.
About the EUSAIR strategy
EUSAIR is an EU strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian region, addressing the region's common challenges and strengthening stakeholder engagement for economic, social, and territorial cohesion. The strategy was adopted by the European Commission in 2014, making it the third macro-regional strategy in the EU involving nine countries: four EU Member States (Greece, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia) and five candidate countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Northern Macedonia). It is based on four thematic pillars: blue growth, connecting the region, environmental quality, and sustainable tourism.
Slovenia is chairing the EUSAIR strategy between 1 June 2020 and 31 May 2021, and the main topic of the presidency is “green integration”, as Slovenia, together with Bosnia and Herzegovina, coordinates the pillar of environmental quality. The aim is to improve the quality of life on the shores of the common sea through concrete arrangements and the implementation of regimes based on the consideration of coastal and marine ecosystem services in the Adriatic-Ionian region.
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