isabelmoranvidal By / September 30, 2013

EU macro-regional strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR)

Updated October 2014 The European Council endorsed the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) (on 24…

© Villarejo / Fotolia

Updated October 2014

The European Council endorsed the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) (on 24 October 2014) and called on all relevant actors to implement it without delay, as outlined in the Council conclusions of 29 September 2014. This strategy builds on the Maritime Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas adopted by the European Commission on 30 November 2012. In all, four EU Member States (Greece, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia) and four non-EU countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia) will be involved on this macro-regional strategy.

© Villarejo / Fotolia
© Villarejo / Fotolia

The main goal of the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region is to promote sustainable economic and social prosperity through growth and jobs creation, by improving its attractiveness, competitiveness and connectivity. At the same time the purpose is to protect the sea, coastal and inland environment and ecosystems.

Four thematic pillars have been set up:

  1. Driving innovative maritime and marine growth
  2. Connecting the region
  3. Preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment.
  4. Increasing regional attractiveness

Together with two cross cutting pillars which will come across each and every pillar: Research, innovation and SMEs development; and capacity Building.

The European Commission had officialy launched this Strategy on the 18th of June in the form of a Communication and an Action Plan.

The present EPRS keysource aims to provide a selection of relevant documents on the EUSAIR.

Institutions point of view

European Council

European Council Conclusions, EUCO 169/14 , Brussels, 24 October 2014

The European Council endorsed the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) and called on all relevant actors to implement it without delay, as outlined in the Council conclusions of 29 September 2014. (More information available on the Press release )

European Council Conclusions on the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR): General Affairs Council meeting – Press release, Brussels, 29 September 2014, 6 p.

The General Affairs Council meeting on 29 September adopted conclusions on the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region. The decision is now subject to endorsement by the European Council.

European Council Conclusions, EUCO 205/12, 13-14 December 2012

The Council mandates the Commission for presenting a new EU Strategy for the AI region before the end of 2014.

European Council Conclusions, EUCO 23/1/11 REV 1, 23-24 June 2011

Member States were invited “to keep working, in collaboration with the Commission, at possible future Macroregions, with the particular reference to the Adriatic- Ionian Macroregion”. The possibility of the AI Strategy is mentioned for the first time.


European Parliament

European Parliament report the evolution of EU macro-regional strategies: present practice and future prospects, especially in the Mediterranean, 2011/2179(INI), A7-0219/2012, 27 June 2012

European Commission

Questions and Answers on the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) / European Commission – MEMO/14/429, 18 June 2014

Discussion paper on a EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) / DG MARE-Maritime Policy Mediterranean and Black Sea and DG REGIO-Macro-regions and European Territorial Cooperation, August 2013, 18 p.
It includes the preliminary outline of the strategy and the national contact points.

“South-East Gateway” Transnational Cooperation Programme 2014-2020 / DG REGIO, August 2013, 2 p.
The Commission reconsiders the geographical scope of the South-East Gateway proposal so as to match with the strategy. The new transnational programme, which will be renamed “Adriatic-Ionian”, will only include the 8 countries which are part of the macro-regional strategy. It also proposes to explore possibilities to build cooperation ‘bridges’ between the Danube, the Adriatic-Ionian and the Mediterranean transnational programmes.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions concerning the added value of macro-regional strategies, COM(2013) 468 final, Brussels, 27 June 2013, 11 p.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A Maritime Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, COM(2012) 713 final, 30 November 2012, 12 p.
This Communication presents an evaluation of the needs and potential of sea-related activities in the Adriatic and Ionian area and establishes a framework on future steps to take towards a coherent maritime strategy and corresponding action plan.

Joint Communication to the European Council, the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean, COM(2011) 200 final, 8 March 2011, 17 p.

Committee of the Regions

Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on “Territorial cooperation in the Mediterranean through the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region” (own-initiative opinion) 2012/C 9/03, 11 October 2011
The macro-regional strategy must focus on challenges and issues of this particular macro-region identified by partners in a joint assessment. The macro-regional approach would have to take into consideration every major issue facing the area. The Committee calls for: the application and monitoring of existing rules in the macro-region; the creation of a platform, network or EGTC; and an agreement on the use of existing EU funding for the macro-region

European Economic and Social Committee

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘Developing a macro-regional strategy in the Mediterranean — the benefits for island Member States’ CESE 1399/2012 – ECO/332, 13 December 2012
Being the Mediterranean region geographically very large and having varying economic, social, political and cultural features, and countries with different systems and infrastructures EESC proposes that two subregional policies (for the eastern and western Mediterranean) should be set up, which would be complementary, coordinating their work with each other and with that of the macro-regional Adriatic-Ionian strategy.

Towards an EU Macro-Regional Strategy to develop economic, social and territorial cohesion in the Mediterranean, CESE (on-going) Own-initiative, ECO/342, 14 February 2013
The opinion will examine the circumstances within the Mediterranean Basin that warrant the development of an EU macro-regional strategy for the region.


Options for building a Macro-Region. Scenarios for the development of the Adriatic-Ionian Macro-Region / t33, 2013, 35 p.
This paper aims at boosting the political debate on the AI Macro-Region by proposing operational and concrete scenarios in the light of experiences in the Baltic and Danube Macro-Regions. However, there is no intent to provide an exhaustive analysis of the socio-economic context or to assess the feasibility of the Macro-Region.

Re-scaling EUrope : EU macro-regional fantasies in the Mediterranean In: European urban and regional studies, 2013, v. 20, n. 1, p. 59-76
The authors of this article argue that, “although there exists by now a vast literature by geographers and other scholars that engages with the production of ‘EU’ropean spaces through regionalization, the policy literature generated by EU ‘macro-regional experts’ appears to entirely ignore these debates, professing an understanding of regions that is a conceptual pastiche at best, and that entirely occludes the political and geopolitical implications of region-making within, at, and beyond ‘EU’rope’s borders.”

Macro-regional dynamics in the Mediterranean area(s): The case of the Adriatic Ionian Macro-region / Battistina Cugusi. CeSPI – Centro Studi di politica Internazionale, Working paper;6, January 2013
The paper includes: the importance of being multilevel; A macro-region to be built around the Adriatic Sea; Towards the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region: the challenges ahead; Facing a “Community challenge” in the Mediterranean.

Macro-regions, ‘la nouvelle vague’ of transnational cooperation: the geopolitical case of the Mediterranean basin / Battistina Cugusi, Andrea Stocchiero, CESPI. EU BORDERREGIONS, Working paper series; 4, 2012, 18 p.
This paper is based on the hypothesis that there is not a single answer to what a macro-region is. It is argued that, as is the case in previous examples of cross-border cooperation (e.g. Euro-regions), different macro-regional approaches are emerging; they depend on the dynamism of diverse actors, inside and outside the EU, interacting with different political frameworks. The authors will focus their attention on the Mediterranean basin, where national governments and sub-national authorities are proposing new political initiatives for the establishment of an Adriatic-Ionian and a Western or basin-wide Mediterranean macro-region.

The external dimension of the European Union macro-regional strategies in the Mediterranean / Andrea Stocchiero,  CeSPI – Centro Studi di politica Internazionale, Working papers; 77, 2011, 12 p.
Third countries are divided by the EU external policy in accession and neighbourhood countries. Accession countries have a direct and strong interest in the macro-regional process because it sustains their integration in the EU. Conversely neighbourhood countries may be milder towards the macro-regional strategy because the incentive is negligible and very difficult to achieve. This division is evident in the Mediterranean scenario. Balkan accession countries are participating in the building of the Danube and Adriatic-Ionic macro-regional strategies. On the contrary, Southern Mediterranean countries, neighbours of the EU, are trapped in the inefficiency of the UfM/EMP, in conflicts and different political transition processes that make a macro-regional perspective in the short time unrealistic .

Medgovernance Project: 3 scenarios for a Mediterranean macro-regional approach / Jean-Claude Tourret and Vincent Wallaert, Institut de la Méditerranée, 7 September 2010, 34 p.
This document does not aim at providing a “one best way” to achieve a macro-regional approach in the Mediterranean area. Its main goal is to give a broad vision of the numerous understanding of what could be like and how could be prepared a macro-region in the Mediterranean area.

The geopolitical game of the European Union strategy for macro-regions: Where does the Mediterranean stand? / Andrea Stocchiero, CESPI working papers, Rome, July 2010.
The setting up of the European Union (EU) strategy for the Baltic macro-region has opened a new debate on the opportunity to replicate it in other contexts. The Mediterranean basin represents another space where diverse stakeholders feel the necessity to improve the trans-national governance for achieving more impact on development. A strategy for the Mediterranean macro-region, or several strategies covering different areas in the Mediterranean basin (from the Adriatic-Ionian to Western Mediterranean), are scrutinised.

Macro-Regions of Europe: Old Wine in a New Bottle? / Andrea Stocchiero, Background Paper. CESPI Working Papers; 65, 2010, 12 p.
The hypothesis of establishing a macro-regional strategy in the Mediterranean is studied in this paper.


Organizzazione del Gruppo per la strategia Macroregionale Adriatico-Ionica (EUSAIR/Italia) della Conferenza delle Regioni e delle Province autonome / Conferenza delle Regioni e delle Province Autonome, 13/080/CR11/C3, 24 July 2013, 5 p.

Working group on EUSAIR for the Italian regions.

Progress report of the Adriatic-Ionian Strategy, and CPMR commitment: Background of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative: emergence of the macro-region and strategy / Patrick Anvroin, Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, 26 April 2013, 3 p.
CPMR has Member Regions on both sides of the Adriatic Sea and bordering the Ionian Sea. They have come together as a “task force” have began collective discussions which should help make suggestions on the content of both the Strategy and the Action Plan that the European Commission shall produce in 2014 regarding this “macro-region”. In addition, a number of regions in the Western Balkans, want to join CPMR, to contribute actively to the preparation work of this macro-region. For all these reasons, the CPMR proposes a partnership over 2013-2014 to the European Commission.  

The CPMR is calling for the rapid launch of the Adriatic-Ionian macroregion/ Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions Genaral Assembly, 4-5 October 2012, 1 p.
At the initiative of its Intermediterranean and Balkan and Black Sea Commissions, on 5 October 2012 the CPMR General Assembly adopted a resolution on this issue. According to the CPMR, this new macro-region must be supported by two main pillars: integrated maritime policy andterritorial cooperation policy. The CPMR proposes a concerted action plan and a timetable for the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region.

AI Macro-regione, Mozione Senato Italia, Atto n.1-00502, 29 November 2011, 3 p.

Europe and its neighbourhood: towards macro-regions?: Political and operational perspectives (Macro-regions seminar report) / Conference of  Peripheral Maritime Regions, 1 July 2010 6 p.
Two sessions where held: ‘Regional policy and neighbourhood after 2013: macro-regions, an opportunity for progress?’ and ‘Developing an EU Strategy for a macro-region in the Mediterranean’.

Declaration of the Adriatic Ionian Council on the support to the EU Strategy for the Adriatic Ionian Region: the 12th Adriatic Ionian Council. Ancona, 5 May 2010, 3 p.

EU Programmes and projects 

Adriatic IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-13
This programme was adopted under and co-financed by the cross-border co-operation component of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). Croatia participates to this programme together with Greece, Italy, Slovenia Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro. Serbia participates in the programme at the phasing-out stage and co-operation focuses on institutional capacity-building.

The overall aim of this programme is strengthening sustainable development capabilities in the Adriatic region through a concerted strategy of action between the partners of the eligible territories.

South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme
The programme is supporting projects developed within four Priority Axes: Innovation, Environment, Accessibility, and Sustainable Growth Areas – in line with the Lisbon and Gothenburg priorities, and is also contributing to the integration process of the non-EU member states.

The South East Europe programme is the transnational programme which gathers the biggest number of participating countries: 16 in total. As 9 of these are EU Member States, 5 are candidate and potential candidate countries and 2 are countries participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy, this is a highly complex programme which presents challenges such as ensuring good mechanisms to contract partners who receive funding from different instruments: ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), IPA (Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance) and potentially ENPI (European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument).

The European Commission has proposed that the present area of the South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme will be covered in the next programming period 2014-2020 by two transnational programmes: Danube and South East Gateway. These two new programmes will support the development and implementation of two Macro Regional Strategies: Danube and Adriatic-Ionian Regions. The European Commission proposed last 2nd August 2013 to change the preliminary name of one of those programmes, South East Gateway, to Adriatic Ionian Programme in order to ensure coherence with the forthcoming macro-regional Strategy, and to reconsider the geographical scope of the new programme so as to match with the macro-regional strategy as is already the case for the Baltic Sea and the Danube transnational programme.

Greece-Albania IPA Cross-border Programme 2007-2013
The overall strategic goal of this Programme is to increase the standard of living of the population by promoting sustainable local development in the cross-border area.

Alterenergy for sustainability in the Adriatic
The Alterenergy project promotes energy sustainability in the small communities of the Adriatic area by advocating energy efficiency and the production of energy from renewable sources. Countries involved: Greece, Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia.

Useful websites

Towards an EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR)
European Commission DG Regio website on the EUSAIR.

Adriatic Ionian Macroregion Area
This website  is supporting  the Interegional group of Italian Regional Authorities established by the decision on 24 of July 2013 of Committe of the Italian Regions and Autonomus Provinces to support the EUSAIR Adriatic-Ionian Macroregion strategy, information and activities are only under the responsability of Marche Regional Authority.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: