The AII Permanent Secretariat attended on February 20-21 the 14th Plenary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.

Over 240 delegates from 53 countries and international organizations gathered in Athens, Greece, to discuss about counterterrorism, MENA region, climate change and economy.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean is the principal forum where the national Parliaments of the Euro-Mediterranean region deliberate to reach those strategic objectives towards the creation of the best political, social, economic and cultural environment and conditions for the fellow citizens of the Member States.

At the opening, following a message by the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, delegates were briefed, among others, by the President of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and by the Special Representative of the Director General of the World Health Organization.

During the Plenary Session, PAM parliamentarians reviewed reports and vote the resolutions on the critical issues of concern, for the Euro-Mediterranean and Gulf areas, inter alia, the evolving threat by ISIS terrorists, the peace process in the Middle East, the national reconciliation process in Libya, the situation in North-Eastern Syria, the economic integration in the region, the challenges related to climate change following COP25, mass migrations and the promotion of Human Rights.

For further information concerning the 14th PAM Plenary session please visit the official website: https://www.pam.int/default.asp?lang=en

The second AII Committee of Senior Officials under Serbian Chairmanship took place in Brussels on February 18 back-to-back with the first session of the 11th EUSAIR Governing Board.

After a brief report on the activities conducted so far under Serbian Chairmanship, AII Senior Officials discussed about the achievements of the Presidency up to now and the planned activities until the end of the Presidency in May.

The Serbian Chairmanship presented to the CSO a productive calendar of upcoming activities that foresees:

  • 3rd Trio Presidency (tbc);
  • 42nd International Tourism Fair (Belgrade, 20-23/02/2020), in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia;
  • 9th Energy and Investment International Days (Novi Sad, tbd), in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia;
  • 4 EUSAIR Thematic Steering Groups meetings (March/April);
  • AII Round Table on Youth Connectivity (Belgrade, 15-16/04/2020), in cooperation with the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sport, in conjunction with the Exhibition – Traditional ornaments of the Adriatic-Ionian Region (conducted by the Museum of Applied Arts and Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade together with the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information);
  • AII Roundtable on “Trans-national tourist products as a way of connecting the coastline with the hinterland“ (on the topic of the Roman Emperors’ Route and Danube Wine Route“) (Belgrade, exact date tbd);
  • AII 20th Anniversary of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (Ancona, 22-24/04/2020);
  • 4th International Fair of Technics and Technical Achievements (Belgrade, exact date tbd), in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia;
  • 87th International Agricultural Fair (Novi Sad, exact date tbd), in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia;
  • 5th EUSAIR Annual Forum (Belgrade, exact date to be decided).

Further topics discussed were the next Adriatic and Ionian Council/EUSAIR Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting, the preparation of the Belgrade Declaration, the updated Rules of Procedures due to the entry of the Republic of San Marino in the AII and the organization of the AII 20th Anniversary Celebrations.

Please find here the agreed minutes of the CSO.

The 11th Meeting of the EUSAIR Governing Board took place in Brussels on 18-19 February 2020. 
As far as the core of the EUSAIR GB, GB acknowledged the implemented activities and outcomes of the Serbian Chairmanship’s Programme, as well as the outline of the 5th EUSAIR Annual Forum. The announcement of final dates (14-16 April or 13-15 May 2020) will follow soon.

Other key topics discussed during the Governing Board were: the embedding process for the post-2020 and the ongoing preparation of the next programming period 2021-2027 by the representative sof Interreg ADRION.

Furthermore, Amb. Castellaneta took the floor to report on the meeting of the CSO held the previous day and on the organization of the AII 20th Anniversary Celebrations.

For further information regarding the EUSAIR GB please visit the official website: https://www.adriatic-ionian.eu/

Amb. Pigliapoco attended the Central European Initiative Business and experts forum on infrastructural and multimodal connectivity as factor of development and integration which took place in Milan on November 15th, 2019. The event was organized under the Italian CEI Presidency by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in association with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport as well as by the CEI-Executive Secretariat with the support of Assolombarda.

Around 150 participants from public institutions, enterprises, banks, the European Commission and experts from CEI Member States, gathered in Milan for the Forum.

Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Paola De Micheli, highlighted that Infrastructure has a fundamental role to play in connecting Italy to Europe, and the rest of the world, and is actually an essential instrument to support the economies of all countries. […] There is an opportunity to enter into real partnerships with the CEI countries to make big investments. I am thinking in particular of the role of the Italian port and the railway connections;

The participants had the chance to analyze the development potential of land (road and railway networks) and sea connections, as well as projects for ports, strengthening economic relations and trade flows also in light of the potential development of large global land and sea trade routes. Special attention was also paid to macro-regional policies and sustainable technological solutions, transit connections as well as financial instruments for the realization of connectivity projects in the area.

The Heads of Government of the Central European Initiative (CEI) Member States as well as high-level representatives of international and regional organisations and institutions met in Rome, at the premises of the Italian Foreign Ministry, on 19 December 2019 for their annual CEI Summit - the top political event in the framework of the Initiative marking the final phase of the Italian CEI Presidency.

The event was chaired by Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy, Giuseppe Conte, in the context of the topic “European integration, regional cooperation and business opportunities”.

In this context, Prime Ministers discussed the current challenges the region was facing, in particular with regard to the “EU Enlargement Fatigue”. They stressed that European integration was vital for strengthening the stability, prosperity and unity of the continent. Likewise, they also discussed how to boost economic integration, a complementary process to European integration, opening up to increased business opportunities and conducive to competitive market economies.

AII Secretary General, Amb. Giovanni Castellaneta was also invited to participate to the Summit as representative of a regional organization, clearly sharing the same objectives as the Central European Initiative, namely to facilitate the integration process and to promote economic growth and prosperity in the region through concrete cooperation activities. In this regard, AII SG expressed deep disagreement and disappointment over the failure to agree on opening EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.

He assured that the AII and its Permanent Secretariat will act to continue to be an essential tool for fostering regional cooperation by further enhancing policy dialogue among the ten AII Participating Countries, continuing to support the European aspirations of the Western Balkan countries, thus representing an impetus to the enlargement and integration process.

Amb. Castellaneta further reminded participants that next tear (2020) it will be held in Ancona the 20th  Anniversary Celebrations of the AII on April 20-24.

Please find the official full statement here.

The Summit also marked the transfer of the CEI Presidency from Italy to Montenegro, effective as of 1 January 2020.

The Union for the Mediterranean hosted the Annual Coordination Meeting of Regional Organisations on 13 November 2019, with the aim of guaranteeing the complementarity of their work and the pursue of their mutual objectives with better results and greater impacts.

Amb. Pigliapoco, AII Senior Advisor, took part of the meeting together with representatives of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the Central European Initiative (CEI), the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).

In the face of the climate emergency that is affecting the Euro-Mediterranean region, the UfM Secretariat took this opportunity to give a special focus to the identification of joint actions and initiatives in the field of Climate Action, calling for increased synergies to tackle the pressing challenges faced in the region.

Representatives from AII, CBSS, BSEC and CEI presented their current activities within their climate portfolios, and agreed, together with the UfM Secretariat, to create a network of focal points, through which synergies will be speedily identified. They further recognized the need of working together on awareness-raising and on inviting other regional organisations operating in the wider Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond to join the initiative.

The next coordination meeting will be hosted by BSEC’s Permanent International Secretariat in 2020 in Istanbul.