Adriatic Ionian Council / EUSAIR Ministerial Meeting - Tirana, 16 May 2022
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 16th in Tirana within the larger framework of the 7th EUSAIR annual Forum, concluding the successful one-year Albanian Chairmanship of these regional mechanisms (1 June 2021-31 May 2022).
The Adriatic Ionian Council / EUSAIR Ministerial meeting chaired by the Ms. Megi Fino, Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania was attended by delegations from the 10 AII/EUSAIR Participating countries, as well as by representatives from the AII Permanent Secretariat, European Commission and other regional organizations.
In the opening speech Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Megi Fino, on behalf of the Albanian Presidency stressed that this activity confirms once again the growing role and contribution of Albania in the region and beyond. Albania assumed the EUSAIR Presidency for the first time, having successfully concluded its chairmanship of the OSCE and is now a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Ms. Fino said that regional cooperation is essential in strengthening good relations between participating countries of the AII and EUSAIR. She further underlined that the incentives and actions of the Albanian Chairmanship aimed at deepening cooperation within the AII / EUSAIR community to find common solutions and to adequately address the economic and social consequences we are facing. As a country of the Adriatic and Ionian, Albania was committed to recognizing and rediscovering the unifying values that the two coasts have created and preserved over the centuries.
The Albanian Presidency also welcomed the formalization of San Marino's membership in the EUSAIR.
EU enlargement to the Western Balkans is a strategic investment in peace, democracy, prosperity, security and stability in Europe. EU enlargement in the Western Balkans has been a priority of the Albanian Presidency and support for obtaining the date of the First Intergovernmental Conference for Albania and Northern Macedonia within the French Presidency, and obtaining candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina, is also noted in the Tirana Declaration that was approved at the end of the meeting.
Youth has been the primary priority of the Albanian Presidency, a priority which coincides with Tirana as the European Youth Capital 2022, as well as with 2022 - the European Year of Youth.
The Albanian Presidency has also initiated the review of the EUSAIR strategy, after 8 years of its approval, believing that the review of the EUSAIR Action Plan will bring the strategy closer to concrete projects and closer to the needs of the citizens of the Adriatic-Ionian region.
The concrete results during the Albanian Presidency were achieved through the organization of activities defined in the calendar of the Presidency, which include the organization of conferences, fairs, round tables, as well as meetings within the sectors supported by the EUSAIR Strategy, activities which include the Parliaments of region, youth, universities, chambers of commerce, civil society, etc.
AII Secretary General, while congratulating Albania on a successful Presidency, pointed out that the future of the Western Balkans is firmly in Europe. Amb. Castellaneta stressed that, as Adriatic and Ionian Initiative, we will continue to support the European integration aspirations of the Western Balkans and supporting candidate and potential candidate countries in their bid for accession in the European Union.
He added that a change of pace and an acceleration is needed for the integration process of the Western Balkans. These countries, which belong to Europe for their history, culture, political aspirations and geography, must join the European Union as soon as possible and without hesitation, finally obtaining the membership, contributing to strengthening the stability of the entire region (here the full speech).
At the Ministerial Meeting in Tirana, Albania handed over the one-year AII Chairmanship/EUSAIR Presidency to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Tirana Declaration, the annual strategic document which acknowledged the results achieved by the Chairmanship and set strategic guidelines for the future, was approved at the end of the Council.