The Belgrade Declaration has been adopted on the 18th of June 2020 by the high-level political representatives of the AII/EUSAIR participating countries following the Adriatic Ionian Council / EUSAIR Ministerial meeting held on May 27th in Belgrade (via Videoconference).
Please find here the Declaration.
Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta has been confirmed as Secretary General of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative for his second mandate until May 2023. Amb. Castellaneta has covered the position of AII SG from June 2017 (beginning of the Italian Chairmanship).
The decision was taken by "Silent Procedure" on May 26th and subsequently formalized during the Adriatic Ionian Council / EUSAIR Ministerial Meeting under Serbian Chairmanship, held in Belgrade (via Videoconference) on May 27th 2020.
On 2 April 2020, North Macedonia has become the ninth participating country of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR), joining Croatia, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. It has officially become the member of EUSAIR family and will coordinate, jointly with Italy and Serbia, the Pillar 2 – Connecting the Region.
The inclusion of North Macedonia will reinforce the political dimension of the Strategy, strengthen regional cooperation and broader multi-level policy dialogue for a more integrated and sustainable Adriatic-Ionian macro-region, also in connection with the enlargement of the EU to Western Balkans.
The meeting of the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative and European Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (EUSAIR) was held on May 27th in Belgrade via Videoconference, concluding the successful one-year Serbian Chairmanship of these regional mechanisms.
The Adriatic Ionian Council / EUSAIR Ministerial Meeting, chaired by the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dačić and co-chaired by the Minister of European Integration Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Jadranka Joksimović, was attended by Deputy Chairperson of the Council of ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bisera Turković, Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of San Marino Luca Beccari, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia Anže Logar, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania Gent CAKAJ, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Ivan Scalfarotto, State Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia Andreja Metelko-Zgombić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro Vladimir Radulović, National Coordinator EUSAIR, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece Vassilios Tselios, Secretary General of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative Amb. Giovanni Castellaneta, Cabinet of Commissioner Elisa Ferreira Responsible for Regional and Cohesion Policy Thomas ECKERT. The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Olivér Várhelyi also participated via video message. (Agenda and list of participants)
Minister Dačić opened the meeting expressing regret that the presidency of Serbia, due to the coronavirus virus pandemic, did not end with the fifth Forum in Belgrade.
The head of Serbian diplomacy presented the results that Serbia has achieved during its one-year presidency. The activities carried out are contained in the Priorities and the Calendar of Activities of the Serbian Presidency of the Adriatic Ionian Initiative and EUSAIR, which were adopted by the Government of Serbia. In his presentation, the Minister reiterated the commitment of the Republic of Serbia to the values of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative and the EUSAIR Strategy.
The Minister also emphasized Serbia's desire to continue deepening cooperation within the Adriatic-Ionian region, emphasizing that during the Presidency they relied on the support and expertise of the Permanent Secretariat of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, based in Ancona.
The Minister also presented plans for further active participation of Serbia in the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative and EUSAIR, especially bearing in mind that even after the end of its Presidency, Serbia remains part of the "Presiding Troika".
The Serbian Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović emphasized the importance and commitment to the goals of the Strategy, especially in the post-pandemic period, considering that potential projects supported by EUSAIR can significantly mitigate the consequences of the pandemic on the economy and society of all participants, whether full EU members or in the process of EU accession.
Taking into account that due to the pandemic it was not possible to hold the firth EUSAIR annual Forum in Belgrade in the scheduled time, Joksimović expressed hope that Serbia, with the support of the European Commission and Slovenian partners, who have taken over the Presidency of this regional initiative, will hold the Forum during Slovenia's Chairmanship (i.e. by the end of this year).
AII Secretary General Castellaneta, while congratulating Serbia on a successful Presidency, pointed out that the “future of the Western Balkans is firmly in Europe. These countries still demand for a full and comprehensive integration within the European Union” and that “the AII and its Permanent Secretariat will continue to be an essential tool for fostering regional cooperation by further enhancing policy dialogue and cooperation among the ten AII Participating Countries”, further supporting the European integration aspirations of the Western Balkan countries” (here the full speech).
Amb. Castellaneta further thanked all AII Participating Countries for the renewal of his mandate as Secretary General of the AII for a further three-year period.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia Anže Logar thanked Serbia for the work brought forward during its annual Presidency and stated that the main priorities of Slovenia for the incoming AII/EUSAIR Chairmanship will be green cooperation, Western Balkans and EU enlargement.
The Belgrade Declaration, the annual strategic document which acknowledged the results achieved by the Chairmanship and set strategic guidelines for the future, will follow in the coming weeks.
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