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Foreign ministers of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy sign the Joint Declaration on continued cooperation in the North Adriatic

Foreign Minister Anže Logar hosted Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman and Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio at a trilateral meeting on 21 April 2021 in Brdo pri Kranju. The ministers assessed the progress of the trilateral cooperation to date and took note of the specific proposals to enhance cooperation in the North Adriatic.

At the meeting held in Trieste on 19 December 2020, the officials adopted the Joint Statement that established a trilateral cooperation mechanism at the working and political levels.

Today, the ministers took note of the proposals for developing closer cooperation formulated by the relevant ministries of all three states, paying special attention to the three topics of connectivity and maritime safety, the blue economy, and environmental protection. A number of specific proposals drafted to this end were tabled at the working level at the trilateral meeting on 29 January 2021.

At the meeting in Brdo pri Kranju, Minister Logar called for the formalisation of ongoing cooperation between the three North Adriatic EU Member States and for other forms of complementary trilateral cooperation, such as the Joint Commission for the Protection of the Adriatic Sea and its Coastal Areas, and the EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region. He went on to express satisfaction with the three neighbouring countries following the provisions of both international and EU law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Convention requires coastal states in enclosed and semi-enclosed seas (such as the Adriatic) to cooperate in exercising their rights and obligations. The trilateral cooperation is carried out in the European spirit while considering the principle of good neighbourly relations and the coordination between EU Member States.

Minister Logar stressed that Slovenia devotes special attention to the implementation of its rights in exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic in line with international maritime law. He is pleased that some international legal issues regarding the exclusive economic zones were addressed in the preparations for this meeting, such as the right to conduct military exercises. In this context, the neighbouring states gave assurance that Slovenia’s access remains the same as under the Regime of the High Seas and that the freedoms of the high sea will be fully retained with regard to navigation, airspace, and laying submarine cables. Fishery activities will remain to be regulated by the EU Common Fisheries Policy, meaning that the exclusive economic zone will become an EU sea-fishing area.

The ministers signed the Joint Declaration emphasising the commitment of the coastal countries in the Adriatic as a semi-enclosed sea to cooperate in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and other international law instruments on environmental protection, pollution prevention, and rescue at sea. The Declaration also conforms with EU law, particularly regarding the common fisheries policy, and the EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region. It also foresees the establishment of an organisational structure for continued trilateral cooperation within ad hoc working groups to finalise the process of establishing a mechanism for enhanced cooperation as agreed in the Statement adopted last December in Trieste.

Joint Declaration on continued cooperation in the North Adriatic in English.