A ceremony was held in the northern Adriatic city of Pula on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion.
Since its establishment, the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion has had a clear vision regarding peace and stability, sustainable economic development, cooperation in tourism, fisheries, agriculture, transport and infrastructure and the protection of cultural heritage and the environment, it was said.
Tourism Minister Anton Kliman, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's envoy at the ceremony, said that the adoption of EUSAIR, a strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian macro-region, had opened up the possibility of a closer cooperation between its stakeholders.
He recalled that the main priorities of the fourth pillar of EUSAIR were making the tourist season longer, further developing thematic and sustainable tourist routes, preserving and efficiently using cultural heritage and strengthening small and medium-sized tourism businesses. That cannot be done without cooperation between all regional and local stakeholders, he said.
The president of the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion and Dubrovnik County head, Nikola Dobroslavic, said that the region was a good example of how regional policies could create a common strategy.
"The Euroregion has from the very start been an important promoter of the notion of an Adriatic-Ionian macro-region within which we have launched good projects," said Dobroslavic.
A member of the European Parliament and former chairman of the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion, Ivan Jakovcic, said that more than ever now it was clear "that ten years ago we started friendship, cooperation and cohesion in all areas."
"The question in this case is not if we should have more or less Europe, we need a better Europe. We are the ones today who can represent a better Europe notably in the light of growing nationalism in France and the Netherlands and developments in Great Britain," Jakovcic said.
"I do not believe that Europe's future is in returning to what it was before World War II, and I am confident that the kind of initiative that we offer is Europe's future," he said.
Attending the ceremony were also former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and Istria County head Valter Flego.