Slovenia hands over Presidency of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region to Albania
The 6th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) closed today in Izola, Slovenia. This year's edition of the Forum was held under Slovenian Presidency in a hybrid format due to the epidemiological situation. At the plenary closing session wrapping up the two-day event State Secretary Monika Kirbiš Rojs and Head of Unit Macro-regions at the European Commission Jean-Pierre Halkin symbolically handed over the Presidency of EUSAIR to Albania.
This year's Forum, already the sixth in a row, was held in a hybrid format under the slogan 'Along the coasts of the shared sea' and marked the end of Slovenian one-year Presidency of EUSAIR. The Forum, which is the most important annual event, put spotlight on key achievements under each of the four EUSAIR Pillars, highlighting the adoption of the joint Izola Declaration, a document setting out key policy orientations for future work of EUSAIR governance and stakeholders, and featuring the handover of the Presidency to Albania.
Over 5,000 participants joined the Forum and its side events to take part in discussions on the green and smart post-Covid-19 recovery of the region. Online events put into focus the key priorities of the Adriatic-Ionian region: innovative blue growth with sustainable management of the shared sea and coastal and marine resources, connectivity in the region on the back of green and smart transport solutions, further strengthening of collaboration towards a green recovery and green energy resilience, environmental protection and biodiversity preservation, transition from crisis to recovery on the back of diversified tourism products.
Delivering closing remarks at the plenary closing session, State Secretary highlighted that Slovenia’s Presidency of EUSAIR was profoundly marked by the Covid-19 pandemic but that the new reality helped the Presidency sharpen focus and push forward with the planned actions. ‘’Slovenia took over the Presidency on 1 June 2020; since then we have delivered over 40 events bringing together over 7,000 participants despite the unfavourable epidemiological situation. We have reached an agreement on key priorities of the macro-region and on the embedding of these priorities in the national and regional mainstream documents,’’ said Kirbiš Rojs.
Green connectivity has been the leitmotiv of the Slovenian Presidency for the past year. ‘’I am happy to say that we were able to engage in the discussion on our future and on the green recovery of the region hundreds of young people from the nine EUSAIR participating countries thanks to various activities,’’ underlined State Secretary.
In her address, Ms Kirbiš Rojs thanked the staff at the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy working in the strategic project EUSAIR Facility Point and their partners in Izola, colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission for their active work during the Slovenian Presidency of EUSAIR.
The final act of the 6th EUSAIR Forum was the symbolic handover of the Presidency by State Secretary Monika Kirbiš Rojs and Head of Unit Macro-regions at the European Commission Jean–Pierre Halkin to Albania. Slovenia and the European Commission wished Albania every success in their efforts towards a green recovery in the region and beyond.