INCLUSION AND PARTICIPATION OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE ADRIATIC & IONIAN INITIATIVE
The Permanent Secretariat of the Adriatic & Ionian Initiative (the AII), located in Ancona (entirely financed by Italy), involves three important entities that were established in order to represent the three fora of “civil society” of the Adriatic and Ionian basin: The Forum of Chambers of Commerce, the Forum of Cities and Towns and the Forum of Universities – UniAdrion.
The role of the institutions and their activities, the results of their work and their participation in the recent years has been subject of disagreement, which is why there were quite some thoughts put into the reform of the concept of the AII and its operations. The thematic round tables that consider the concept of subsidiarity and involvement of the experiences of the civil society (expert networks and associations, NGOs, business sector …) contribute to the synergies between the AII and the new macroregional dimension. Furthermore, the synergies indeed revitalize the initial intergovernmental dimension of the AII. The round tables were reformed in order to serve as an additional tool for the goals and the Priority Pillars of the EUSAIR and their Thematic Steering Groups (TSG).
In addition, the European Commission mandates the Permanent Secretariat additional coordinating tasks between the EUSAIR stakeholders and the role of the partner in the EUSAIR Facility Point in Slovenia.
The new concept of the AII involves the established structure and fora for participation of the civil society, but it foresees the (pro)active role of the fora themselves. Such activities can be sporadic and depend on the personal engagement of the partners involved. There is no coordination of the three fora on the national levels. The governmental dimension in the organization of the meetings of national representatives and ministerial meetings is the responsibility of the ministries.