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Minister Fajon: “Cooperation between Slovenia, Croatia and Italy is essential for the protection of the northern Adriatic Sea”

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon took part in the fourth meeting at the level of foreign ministers of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy in Ancona on cooperation in the management and protection of the northern Adriatic Sea. The ministers also adopted a joint declaration committing their states to exchanging information on the implementation of Exclusive Economic Zones and the regulation of maritime traffic.

"I am pleased that, after a year, the foreign ministers of three Mediterranean countries have met again in a trilateral format and have committed themselves to enhanced cooperation in the northern Adriatic Sea", Minister Fajon said after the trilateral meeting with her counterparts Gordan Grlić Radman and Antonio Tajani.

The ministers signed a Joint Declaration confirming the excellent trilateral cooperation and pledging to continue working on concrete projects of common interest. "I am particularly pleased that by signing the Joint Declaration, our countries have committed to keeping each other informed on the implementation of the Exclusive Economic Zones and the regulation of maritime transport. Freedom of navigation in the Exclusive Economic Zones – as guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – is of key importance for our country, especially in the context of maritime traffic to and from the Port of Koper," the minister underlined.

The foreign ministers praised the significant progress made in a number of areas of common interest, such as the blue economy, environmental protection, security and cross-border connectivity, which are coordinated by Slovenia within the trilateral framework. Minister Fajon said: "Good cross-border connectivity is very important not only for good neighbourly relations and for a better and easier daily life for our citizens, but also for the economic growth of our region. The northern Adriatic route remains the shortest transit route for freight from the Far East to Europe. I therefore welcome the intention of the North Adriatic Ports Association (NAPA) to continue the strategic study on the re-positioning of our ports in the changed international environment."

The Joint Declaration also commits the trilateral countries to take measures to protect the environment, including sharing information in the event of environmental disasters. With regard to the protection of life at sea, Minister Fajon welcomed the initiative to carry out a joint search and rescue exercise at sea in the autumn. "This will be an opportunity to test our preparedness and coordination of action," she said, inviting the participants to Portorož for the meeting of the States Parties to the Barcelona Convention, which Slovenia will chair from December this year.

After the meeting, the ministers were joined by Alexander Schallenberg, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria, for a working lunch. Their discussions focused on current foreign policy issues, in particular the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the situation in the Western Balkans and the joint protection of the EU's external borders.

Slovenia will host the fifth trilateral meeting of foreign ministers next year.