Day three in a snapshot – from Budva Declaration to Serbia 2020
Pillar I and Pillar IV Sessions
The second and final day of the 4th EUSAIR Forum began with yet another intense schedule, despite being concentrated only on half day. Blue Growth (Pillar I) and Sustainable Tourism (Pillar IV) were the two topics that characterized the morning discussion. The main takeaway from the agenda was that for any sort of development it is ultimately necessary to take into account not only sector-specific elements, but also the wider social and economic aspects. Furthermore, knowledge-transfer and skills-development programs are the two cornerstones upon which any viable and long-term strategy should be based if it intends to invest into younger generations and stay for the long term. It is only with this approach that “happiness will be provided to the people”, as said Jean-Pierre Halkin, head of unit at DG Regio.
While the Adriatic and Ionian Council and EUSAIR ministerial meeting kicked off to finalize the Budva declaration, the forum’s program continued with a panel discussion on science, innovation and growth that tried to map the future for the macro-region. Smart specialization strategy (S3) and its meaning in practicality were described in detail by experts from Montenegro and the European Commission (EC), showcasing how S3 could further “integrate the people while developing the region”, as the Forum’s motto recites. In other words, based upon the region’s strong common historical, economic and cultural features, S3 should “pave the way for a transition towards a knowledge-based economy”, as the Minister of Science of Montenegro, Sanja Damjanović, put it.
From Budva Declaration to Serbia 2020
The fourth and final plenary session of the Forum was the occasion for a high-level panel discussion with representatives from all the eight countries, who welcomed as special guest the representative from the Republic of North Macedonia. As a landmark of the Forum there is in fact the formal invitation extended to the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of San Marino (Budva Declaration).
All panelists agreed that the Adriatic Ionian macroregional policy is one of the most successful EU policies in this realm. Quite aptly, the Serbian Minister for European Integration, Jadranka Joksimović, in her intervention highlighted that there is always room for improvement. For this reason the Serbian presidency of EUSAIR, which will formally start on June 1st, will focus on emphasizing tangible outcomes, especially in the areas of energy infrastructure and transport connectivity, i.e. Pillar II. In her opinion, it is important to bring more concrete results. The formal handover of the presidency between the Montenegrin Foreign Minister, Srđan Darmanović, and his Serbian colleague, Ivica Dačić, marked the end of a very successful Forum.
See you all next year!