Development of the Adriatic-Ionian region and membership in the EU: two interrelated processes

Foreign Affairs Minister Ditmir Bushati attended the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative (Adriatic-Ionian Council) and the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (EUSAIR). Among Foreign Ministers of the countries of Adriatic and Ionian region, the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, also attended this meeting, which was held in Dubrovnik, under the Croatian Presidency of the initiative.

At focus of this meeting was the evaluation of the advancement of the Strategy since its adoption by the Council in October 2014, and a new set of directions for its future. 

In his remarks, Minister Bushati stated that: "With EUSAIR Strategy, we have taken a qualitative step forward as regards regional cooperation in the Adriatic and Ionian basin. The macro-regional approach represents a new model of multilevel governance in our region, which brings together the EU institutions, regional countries at national, regional and local level, economic and social partners and civil society organizations".

This strategy is an important step towards a complete integration of our economies in the single EU market. To achieve this objective, this geographical region, along the Adriatic-Ionian area, should become an economic region and ensure continuity of exchanges in Europe. "In the current security situation, the EU and the Western Balkans should not experience interdependence as a threat but as an opportunity", Minister Bushati emphasized.

Among EUSAIR priorities, he underlined the importance for Albania to improve transport and energy interconnection, highlighting the Adriatic-Ionian highway and Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP).

Minister Bushati pointed out that the Thematic Steering Group on Sustainable Tourism run by Albania and Croatia will reflect the importance we attach to the development of the potential of the entire region for a quality, innovative, sustainable and responsible tourism. Our countries are committed to lead the joint efforts of countries in the region to diversify tourism products and services, along with the marketing of an Adriatic-Ionian tourism "brand".

In addition, in the context of this Ministerial, Minister Bushati held meetings with the Croatian counterpart Kovač and the Italian one Gentiloni.

At the meeting with Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia Miro Kovač, the interlocutors paid special attention to the preferential bilateral cooperation between Albania and Croatia. After praising the excellent level of political relations, which is reflected in the high level visits and exchanges between the two countries, they focused on the intensification of economic relations.

Minister Bushati underlined that "our relations are very good and friendly, and on the basis of this positive climate, we wish to deepen cooperation in the Adriatic European space by implementing energy (TAP, IAP and their derivatives) and infrastructure (Adriatic-Ionian corridor) projects which are going to create a new reality in the region". He shared with his Croatian counterpart the steps taken by the Albanian Government in the implementation of state-consolidation reforms in the context of our country's integration agenda into the European Union. Albania considers Croatia as a model, which has a special role in mobilizing the European political will to move forward with the integration process of the Western Balkans.

Following, the two ministers discussed the situation in the region and inter-regional cooperation, praising Albania's role as a factor of peace and stability.

At the meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic, Paolo Gentiloni, talks dwelt on a range of bilateral cooperation issues of mutual interest, Albania's European agenda, interaction in the framework of the Berlin Process, cooperation within NATO, security challenges in the Mediterranean and coordination of action at multilateral level.

Interlocutors also focused on measures of the EU member and candidate countries to cope with the refugee crisis and emphasized the need for a better coordination in response to security challenges.

Parties also highlighted the importance of economic cooperation. Minister Bushati briefed his Italian counterpart on the measures taken by the Albanian government for the improvement of the business climate in the country.

Furthermore, while thanking for the assistance provided by the Italian government and institutions in support of Albania's efforts and integration process into the EU, Minister Bushati informed his Italian counterpart on recent political developments in the country, priorities and reforms undertaken, expressing conviction that the unconditional support of friendly Italy will continue also in coordinating efforts for the next step, that of opening negotiations.

Minister Bushati expressed satisfaction for the excellent bilateral relations as as well as close and special ties existing between Albania and Italy, as a natural strategic ally. He reiterated the importance of Italy to Albania and Albanians, and vice versa, highly appreciating the intensive political dialogue and cooperation between the two friendly countries also recently seen in the field of consular services.

Postal Address

Mission of Albania
30, Rue Tenbosch,
1000 Bruxelles

Tel / Fax

Tel. +32 2 640 3544
+32 2 644 3329
Fax. + 32 2 640 31 77
Emergency Tel. 0032485401237



Monday to Friday
09:00 - 17:00