Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman on Wednesday in Sarajevo attended the 8th EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (EUSAIR) Forum and the annual session of the Council of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII), where he participated in a panel on “The Role of the AII and the EUSAIR in the Acceleration of the European Integration Process”.
Addressing the panel, the minister thanked Bosnia and Herzegovina for having successfully chaired the AII, underscoring that EU enlargement would be one of the crucial topics in the period ahead and that the EUSAIR framework should be utilized by candidate countries.
“Boosting administrative capacities, the exchange and transfer of knowledge, sharing experiences and practices, creating a network of friends and partners and building trust between them – all of these are extremely valuable advantages for each country aspiring to join the EU. Through the EUSAIR, candidate countries can get to know the principles and regulations of the EU cohesion policy,” Grlić Radman said, adding that the EUSAIR could and should create added value by advancing the alignment of candidate countries with the acquis in all the relevant areas.
The minister took over one-year presidency of the EUSAIR (1 June 2023 - 31 May 2024). The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, together with the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, will coordinate all chairmanship activities. The central event, the annual EUSAIR forum and the AII ministerial meeting, will take place in May 2024.
Grlić Radman highlighted the priorities of Croatia’s EUSAIR presidency: transformation of the EUSAIR in new macroregional circumstances, boosting the EUSAIR and AII’s contribution to EU enlargement, completing the EUSAIR revision process, and stronger institutional networking within the four existing macroregional strategies of the EU.
“Croatia has always been the biggest advocate of EU enlargement in line with a structured, efficient and fair accession process that is based on set criteria and individual merit. We will continue to offer political, diplomatic and technical assistance to all the Western Balkan countries along their journey towards the EU,” Grlić Radman concluded.