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Adriatic-Ionian Initiative – Parliament presidents discuss strengthened cooperation in Belgrade

Strengthened and improved regional cooperation in the Adriatic-Balkan basin, aimed at accelerating the European integration process, was the central focus of the 10th conference of presidents of parliament of the Adriatic Ionian Initiative (AII) members held today in Belgrade under the Serbian duty presidency.

Creation of an Adriatic-Ionian macro-region

Speaking for Italy was the Hon. Roberto Antonione, President of the Italian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the CEI, who reiterated our country’s strong commitment to the complete EU integration of the entire Balkans region. Antonione also underscored Italy’s support for the project aimed at the creation of an Adriatic-Ionian macro-region, which, he said, “can be a major and decisive factor in transnational integration and further facilitate the entry of all the area’s counties into the Community context”.

Regional cooperation a Serbian foreign policy priority

Chairing the sessions held in the Belgrade parliament was its President Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic, who also holds the interim presidency of the republic until the election of a new Serbian head of state (6 May). Regional cooperation, he said, is one of Serbia’s foreign policy priorities, which is also aiming at full EU integration, which, he added, will be a factor in the stability and development of the Balkans area and serve to improve good neighbour relations between the countries of the region who were the protagonists of the conflicts of the 1990s.

Speakers at the conference included Secretary General of the regional organization Fabio Pigliapoco. Serbia hands the AII presidency over on June 1st to Slovenia, represented at the Belgrade meeting by Parliament President Gregori Virant. The others members of the Adriatic–Ionian Initiative, set up in 2000, are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Greece and Italy, the latter two also EU members.