Italy and Albania: The Adriatic Sea is Not a Barrier to Cooperation

The Adriatic Cross-border Cooperation Programme derives its strength from the experience gained during the former programme showing concrete results from the analysis of the past. Precisely, this IPA programme is the result of the work conducted by the participating countries. Similarly, it is an eminent part of the cooperation procedure. There are many factors that make cooperation in the Adriatic Sea area important, from political to economic point of view. These include:

  • Factors that are related to geographical as well as cultural proximity, making intensification of bilateral or even multilateral relations possible among the Adriatic coastal regions. This helps to support the local processes of the harmonious growth, unity among people and sustainable growth.
  • Factors based on the political stability of the region. After ten long years of conflict, this region is currently moving towards integration while creating an area for free trade.

Since the present programme is the outcome of a detailed working process; communication, discussion and cooperation are everything that is required.

Coordination between the Countries

Several meetings took place across different locations of the programme area between 2006 and 2007. As a result of discussions, the programme developed gradually and the entire preparation process finished by the end of 2007 after submitting it to the commission.

On 13th and 14th April in Italy, a task force was formed that had the representatives of the national as well as regional authorities. Similarly, a Drafting Team was established. The Arbuzzo Region was chosen as the coordinator of the Programme. On 24th and 25th April, experts were engaged to perform the Ex-ante-Evaluation and Strategic Environmental Assessment in order to assist the process of the programming. Followed by the meeting on the 31st May 2007, the final discussion on the draft was conducted on 9th and 10th July 2007, in Brussels.

Involvement of Italy, Albania and More…

During the phases of drafting the programme, Italy involved wide range of partnership at both regional and national level, including cultural and environmental authorities, tourism and health, and SME associations. The draft of the Adriatic Cross-border Cooperation Programme was largely based on the feedback provided by the partners. On the other hand, Albania involved different actors who are positioned at the central administration level. It is on the 19th June in 2007, the Italian representatives and the Ministry of European Integration held a meeting that concerns implementation method of IPA Adriatic CBC Programme that was carried out in Tirana, preceded by internal discussion. Greece, Slovenia and Croatia took a huge part in drafting of the programme.

The Adriatic Region bordering the Sea is economically as well as socially diversified between various states and national territories. And in the last decade, significant changes have occurred in this area from an economic point of view. It is because of this program that the Adriatic countries are in the process of transition from dependent economy to self-sustainable one. So precisely, since the drafting of the Adriatic Area programme, the Otranto Strait has served as a communication bridge and not as a hindrance to cooperation.

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