For the first time a meeting of the ombudsmen of the Adriatic and Ionian region was held in Ancona (25 October 2017), back to back with the first EUSAIR Governing Board of the Italian Chairmanship, with the intention to create a stable network of cooperation with a focus on unaccompanied minors.

The growing number of unaccompanied children coming to Europe with the continue migration and refugee flow has made necessary to activate a cooperation among national institutions in charge of protecting children’s rights in the Adriatic and Ionian area.

This has been considered a “concrete way” to respond to the call of AII Ministers in Dubrovnik and Ioannina to use the EUSAIR potential to try alleviate the migration and refugee crisis severely hitting some countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Region.

A draft Declaration of Intent was presented and will be soon adopted with the aim of strengthening the cooperation among ombudsmen for children of the Adriatic and Ionian Countries in order to:

  • - Build the new platform for cooperation;
  • - promote children’s rights culture in the region;
  • - Share best practices;
  • - Implement joint projects;
  • - Make comparative analysis of Adriatic and Ionian systems for the protections of non accompanied children.

On Saturday 28 October, the international Conference “Financing the EUSAIR” was held in Cesenatico (Italy). The aim of the event was to create a first occasion for cooperation among EUSAIR Governance, the private sector and International Financing Institutions (IFIs).

Among them, the European Investment Bank, the Development Bank of the Council of Europe and the Italian “Cassa Depositi e Prestiti” attended the meeting that was chaired by the Italian Undersecretary of State, Sandro Gozi.

The AII Secretary General, Amb. Castellaneta attended the meeting and addressed the audience by highlighting the role of the AII supporting the participation of Adriatic and Ionian stakeholders to the macroregional process, facilitating the establishment of new partnerships for the presentation of strategic regional projects to be presented for funding to EU Programmes or to International Financing Institutions.  

Upon proposal of the Italian Government, the "Adriatic and Ionian Council / EUSAIR Ministerial Meeting" held in Ioannina last 11 May, appointed Amb. Giovanni Castellaneta as the new AII Secretary General for a three years mandate.

Amb. Castellaneta replaces Amb. Fabio Pigliapoco at the end of his second mandate.

Ministers expressed sincere congratulations to the newly appointed Secretary General wishing him a fruitful mandate.

They also expressed sincere thanks to the outgoing Secretary General who served with passion and competence. Under his guidance, the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative has undergone a deep transformation, adapting itself to a completely new situation after the adoption of the "EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region" , and changing its character in order to contribute reaching the objective of the Strategy.

Considering the growing workload of the Permanent Secretariat and in view of the future challenging period for the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and the redefinition of the  European strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region governance , the eight participating Countries  have decided to strengthen the structure of the AII Permanent Secretariat by appointing former AII Secretary General , Ambassador Fabio Pigliapoco , as  "Senior advisor " of the AII P.S. 

The decision was taken by " silent procedure " on 26 June and subsequently formalized during the first AII  Committee of Senior Officials under  Italian Chairmanship  , held in Ancona on 26 October 2017 . 

In his new capacity , Ambassador Pigliapoco will have , inter alia , the task to keep the Secretariat in constant contact with the AII Senior Officials , EUSAIR National Coordinators , regional  Authorities and with the Fora of civil society ( Chambers of Commerce , Cities , Universities ) , having their Secretariats in Ancona. 

Ambassador Pigliapoco has already started to  work in close cooperation with the newly  appointed AII Secretary General , Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta.

The Representatives of the Governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, meeting in Ioannina, Greece, with the participation of a representative of the European Commission, in the framework of the 2nd Forum of the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) have adopted the Ioannina Declaration (enclosed to this article).