On 19 December 2020, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Croatia and Slovenia met in Trieste to discuss the operational procedures and priority areas for enhancing trilateral cooperation in the Adriatic Sea. Building on the existing coordination mechanisms, the Ministers had a positive exchange of views on the prospects for further strengthening cooperation, also in the light of the information shared by Italy and Croatia on their intention to declare an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Adriatic.
The Adriatic, a semi-enclosed sea with intense maritime traffic and a vulnerable system, needs an integrated approach to safeguard the environment, prevent risks and secure sustainable development. As Countries bordering the same sea, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia share the vision of the Adriatic as a bridge that unites all peoples in the region and a source of well-being and prosperity for all. The Ministers agreed to continue their discussion in a trilateral format focused on common opportunities for cooperation in key areas, including economic development, connectivity, the blue economy and the full protection of the Adriatic Sea. To this end, the three Countries will establish a mechanism for advanced cooperation, at political and expert level.
In this context, the Italian and Croatian sides provided updates on the progress of their respective initiatives for the declaration of an EEZ. Italy and Croatia reiterated that this step would be taken in full compliance with the principles of international law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the law of the European Union.
In a profound European spirit, all three states remain committed to improving cooperation, in order to protect the Adriatic and the wider Mediterranean region, to bring people together on the shores of our Sea and to transform together our common space of coexistence.
The Ministers agreed to hold the next trilateral meeting in the first quarter of 2021.