Sarajevo Declaration adopted after the EU Strategy Forum for the Adriatic-Ionian Region

After the EU Strategy Forum for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (EUSAIR) and the annual meeting of the Council of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative (JJI) at the level of foreign ministers, the Sarajevo Declaration was adopted, which is the product of the processes that took place under the BiH presidency of EUSAIR.

Bosnia and Herzegovina took over the presidency from the Republic of Albania on June 1, 2022, which ends on May 31, 2023, when the Republic of Croatia takes over the presidency.

BiH Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmedin Konaković reiterated the importance of dialogue and communication through the talks of the JJI initiative, while the EU members within that initiative followed the situation at this moment with understanding.

At the time of the aggression against Ukraine, an accelerated process of integration appears, which, says Konaković, will not take a shorter route but an accelerated dynamic.

"Forums like this serve that purpose, and I repeat the need for political stability in the Western Balkans region, which I think is the most important for economic development because it is the only way to improve the living conditions of citizens," said Konaković.

Director of the Directorate for European Integration of BiH, Edin Dilberović, emphasized that during the year of the BiH Presidency, efforts were made to attract young people to participate in negotiations and decision-making because, without young people, the process of European integration makes no sense since it is a generational project.

"This was the first time that BiH chaired the EUSAIR, and in that very year BiH received candidate status, which was an incentive to work even harder on this strategy," said Dilberović.

Director of Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO) Slawomir Tokarski emphasized two aspects of JJI that are also important for the process of enlargement of the European Union. One is equality, which means that both EU members and non-EU members participate on an equal footing.

It is a very important platform within EUSAIR where one can come forward with one's own initiative and perceptions and concerns. This is not, says Tokarski, a one-sided process where it only adapts to what the EU asks for.

"Another aspect is young people. This means that cooperation with them should be a standard part of every process, and not some concession we make to them. In this regard, it is important to include the local point of view in this strategy because we are in a time of polarization and the need to confirm EU values," concluded Trakovski.

The declaration is availble here: 

Submitted by CESCI on Fri, 05/26/2023 - 15:26

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