Celebrated in Pula (Croatia) on the 2nd july 2016 the 10th Anniversary of Adriatic Ionian Euroregion (AIE): the network founded on 30th of June in 2006, just in Pula, to promote the transnational and interregional cooperation among Regions and local Authorities in the Adriatic Ionian area.
10 years of work, 28 members, 12 assemblies, 2 of which extraordinary, 6 executive committee, 12 technical commissions, 13 international conferences, presentation at European Commission, at Europe Council in Strasbourg, opening of the Bruxelles office, meetings with main networks in the Adriatic Ionian area, with Chambers of Commerce, municipalities and universities.
These are some of the main results of the AIE, a network that in 2010, for the first time, formally requested to the Committee of Regions, European Commission and Parliament, to adopt a macro regional strategy.
The famous Arena in Pula, the biggest monument of hold architecture in Croatia, has been the location of the ceremony, attended by the most important politics and representatives of regional and local authorities, who contributed to the success of these 10 years.
Nikola DOBROSLAVIC, AIE President and President of Dubrovnik Neretva County (Croazia) has opened the Extraordinary Assembly remarking his great satisfaction: “We have gained our primary goal, and this is the main result of our projects. We are here and we will face together to rise a better life for our citizens.”
Satisfaction shared by Ivan JAKOVCIC, Member of European Parliament, first AIE President, and great supporter of the association. “We had a vision, and we have gained it. Now we should decide who will be the future guide of the project. They can not be European Commission, Governments, Municipalities. But they should be the Regions. They have to build a synergy. Now more than ever it’s evident that our cohesion means that we want more Europe in our life. But better Europe. We should engage to fight for our citizens. And EUSAIR Strategy is the answer.”
European Commission was represented by the DG-REGIO with the Head of the Competence Centre for Macro-Regions and European Territorial Cooperation, Andrea Mairate. He has remarked the strength of the AIE in the last 10 years, in which Europe has several changes.
“Europe has changed in 10 years, affected by a strong crisis, but it is emerging a great opportunity: the Macroregion, a phenomenon born thanks to the Euroregion. Its value is held in overcoming divisions, obstacles, in building projects and bridges. The AIE means not only staying together, but acting together. It means build a common identity projected toward a future to build together.”
A special award has been assigned to the former Croatian President Stjepan MESIC, as AIE founding father, promoter of cooperation and critical about EU: “The EU should criticise itself and it has to solve its problems about international and fiscal policies. It should not pretend to be surprised about the waves of refuges, because this is the result of wrong EU policy, attending in silence to international crisis. We should create an Europe of Regions, opening to cooperation. In the beginning EU showed itself as a hope for a better world, but we have failed our final goal.”
Valter FLEGO, President of the Region of Istria and master of the house, has spoken about borders and barriers: ”We want to demonstrate that boundaries are not barriers, but they help to build a common European space. The AIE is a symbol of progress and development thanks to our contributions.
The event was also attended by the Former President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Giovanni DI STASI and by Zeljka BARIC as delegate from the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and national coordinator for EUSAIR and EUSDR. Other contribution coming from Aldrin DALIPI President of Tirana Regional Council and Luciano D’ALFONSO as President of Abruzzo and AIE Vice President.
Francesco COCCO, the Secretary General of the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion, concludes: “We have never organized our activities in a closed room, but we have shared them with our people having the same dream, the same people that never betrayed us. The most important result in 10 ten years was to have built an institutional community as well as a community of people linked by a durable system of relationships.”
Main photos (other images are available here)