Bosnia takes over presidency of EU Strategy for Adriatic-Ionian Region

NEWS 22.05.2022 11:09
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Source: N1

Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken over the year-long presidency of the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (EUSAIR), a forum for cooperation in the areas of transport, environmental protection and tourism for four EU members and six non-EU countries.

The initiative was chaired by Albania over the past year.

BiH Deputy Foreign Minister Josip Brkic said that his country would continue working on individual topics “to build on what has been achieved so far” as well as on Bosnia and Herzegovina's getting closer to EU membership.

BiH's priorities in chairing the EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region will focus on youth, notably in the context of EU enlargement, Brkic said in an interview with Hina from Tirana, where the EUSAIR was holding its annual forum.

The European Commission formed the EUSAIR in 2014 to help candidate countries and potential candidates draw closer to the EU. The EUSAIR brings together Adriatic and Ionian countries or countries that are in the hinterland of the two seas, with a total population of 70 million.

Their local and regional authorities, universities, associations and companies apply jointly for projects financed with money from EU funds.

In that context, BiH has had a number of projects in its areas bordering Croatia and Montenegro, and during its presidency BiH will work to expand projects to include other parts of the country as well.

Brkić said BiH's priorities were connected with tourism, energy sustainability in the context of the Russian aggression on Ukraine, as well as other issues, to be defined through cooperation with universities, chambers of commerce and regional and local authorities.

Attending the forum in Tirana were EU members Croatia, Italy, Greece and Slovenia, as well as BiH, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and San Marino.

A declaration adopted by the ten countries of the Adriatic-Ionian Region calls on the European Union to grant BiH the status of an EU candidate as soon as possible.

Brkić said that it was equally important to start accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, also candidate countries.

It is necessary to show tangible evidence that the EU enlargement process is active, he said.

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