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The 12th edition of the AIC Forum was held this year in Brindisi from 6th to 8th June, in collaboration with the Brindisi Chamber of Commerce. It concluded its works with a remarkable success, expressing a high level of comparison and reflection on the subject matter broached, namely: TOWARDS THE ADRIATIC - IONIAN MACRO-REGION: A STRATEGIC PROJECT FOR TERRITORIAL AND BUSINESS COMPETITIVENESS
The international event saw the participation of more than 250 representatives, making their contribution to the works devoted to the establishing of the future Adriatic Ionian Macro-Region and the role that the Forum of the Chambers of Commerce of the Adriatic and Ionian Area may play in such a delicate political and social context.
A great many authoritative figures were involved, such as the President of the Committee of the Regions Mercedes Bresso, the President of the Marche Regional Board, Gian Mario Spacca, the Deputy President of the Apulia Regional Board, Loredana Capone, and the President of the Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce, Ferruccio Dardanello and the President of Eurochambres, Alessandro Barberis
The contributions by the representatives of the various DGs of the European Commission, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Transport Ministry, the C.E.S.E., the AII permanent secretariat, important networks such as NECSTouR, Uniadrion and the Forum of Adriatic and Ionian Cities and Towns.
The video message sent by the Deputy President of the European Parliament Gianni Pittella provided an excellent institutional frame to the works of this edition
And this year’s event once again chose to focus on the future Adriatic-Ionian Macro-Region, in line with previous editions of the Forum and on ways to implement a programme that would be consistent with territorial policies and with the EU growth priorities for the creation of a new governance model capable to encourage integrated development, promoting innovative, sustainable interventions in support of the businesses of the area
The message launched by this edition was to help develop the Adriatic-Ionian Macro-Region by 2014.
It is in this direction that the final declaration heads. It was approved unanimously by the meeting of participants, seeking to stress the political commitment and responsibility that the Forum of the Chambers of Commerce of the Adriatic and Ionian Area intends to take on in representation of 36 chambers, in order to lay a solid basis for the social and economic re-launch of the area
In this sense, we need to create the conditions whereby the European integration process of the communities and territories involved by the macro-regional programme is developed as quickly as possible, with the bottom-up approach that has always marked the initiative of the Chambers of Commerce in the relevant basin
A vast strategic area with great opportunities for growth that involves Italy, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia, Greece, Albania and Serbia and which can count on very interesting numbers: more than a hundred million inhabitants, more than 1,2 million businesses, 32 billion euros in cross-border turnover
An outlet market that already sees the “Made in Italy” amongst the top four trading partners and which “may represent a cog in helping increase the plateau of businesses exporting abroad” both due to geographic closeness and cultural affinity, as the President of Unioncamere Ferruccio Dardanello rightly pointed out
To make the most of this potential the establishment of a credible supra-territorial organism, which is recognised by all parties in play and is able to guide the standardisation of market rules without losing sight of the specific needs of the different countries comprising it, is absolutely essential.
According to Rodolfo Giampieri, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Ancona and Deputy President of the Forum, it is clear that "the interconnection of the economies of the Macro-region is now a given fact and it is virtually no longer possible to split the trend of an individual country away from that of the others".
Alfredo Malcarne, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Brindisi that housed the Forum works, is absolutely convinced of this and declared that “we must all work together on this journey, on the one hand each striving to do his best, with his own competences and specific skills, and on the other putting all the knowledge and potential on the network to achieve an expanded concept of territoriality and productivity”.
These are objectives that the Chambers of Commerce of the Adriatic and Ionian have put in black and white, committing themselves to "build a network of the experience and potential present in the economic-productive fabric, strengthen and rationalise the infrastructural system, develop social and economic activities between integrated and complementary areas".
The President of the Marche Regional Board Gian Mario Spacca, in line with the President of the Committee of the Regions, Mercedes Bresso, chose to forcibly stress the matter of the infrastructural system, underlining the fact that five years ago the design of the European infrastructural networks exclusively concerned the north-eastern part of the continent with a strong concentration of connections between Russia and Germany. Today, the Ten-T network has changed significantly: there is a re-affirmation of the role of central Europe in a process of greater integration and above all of the role of the Mediterranean. New corridors are consolidating and these include the Baltic-Adriatic one. The development of infrastructures is a concrete effect of the strategy of the Adriatic-Ionian Macro-Region.
The letter sent by MEP Antonio Tajani, Deputy President of the European Commission, and dedicated to this edition of the Forum was particularly important. With this communication he deemed it appropriate to inform participants that within the "Programme for the competitiveness of businesses and SMEs" the Commission has proposed providing 2.5 billion euros in incentives to the competitiveness and internationalisation of SMEs: the aim is to assist 39 thousand businesses a year, helping them create or save around 30 thousand jobs and develop 900 new products, services and business processes
Under this scope, a good 135 million will be allocated to tourism. This is a strategic sector for the Macro-Region and one which sees it in a better position than other areas of the EU, given that the Forum has already adopted the “Adrion” umbrella logo some years ago to identify multi-country tourist packages that are presented on international markets
The “Adrion” brand has been recognised as a good practice in both the Regional “Branding Policy” Conference organised by NecsTouR and in the European Consultation of the DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission that went under the title “Challenges and opportunities for the coastal sector in Europe”
Transport is another extremely important segment for the establishment of the Macro-Region. It must be modern and efficient in order to integrate those marginal areas of the EU too, which are precisely those worst struck by the crisis
In a period of great difficulty for our economy, the Macro-Region may be essential in laying a solid basis for the recovery of a great many production sectors. With the Macro-Region people and ideas can be moved to face up to challenges and make the most of shared opportunities, always remembering that the added value of this strategy is an important political signal launched to Western Balkan countries
Within the EU re-launch plan the next few years will focus on developing intelligent, inclusive, sustainable growth to create new jobs, particularly supporting small and medium-sized enterprises
The AIC Forum in Brindisi, which has only just ended, was characterized not only by the stringent need for socio-economic integration between people and countries who came along, but also the European spirit, the awareness of being part of a Union that offers possibilities for growth and visibility, and in which we must present ourselves as a compact Macro-region.
The edition was enhanced by the productions of the theme-specific workgroups, which have always been the technical-operational tools by which to outline the Forum’s annual programme and the related projects and initiatives. Over the last 12 years this method has enabled the promotion of significant cooperation and development activities in favour of the territories of the Adriatic-Ionian area.
INSULEUR Agreement Protocol
This Edition also saw the signing of an Agreement Protocol between the Forum and Insuleur, a network of insular Chambers of Commerce of the European Union, established in 2000 in Crete, Greece, following the decision of the chambers of commerce of the insular regions of France, Greece, Spain and Italy
Today, there are 37 Chambers of Commerce members of Insuleur: Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Malta and the United Kingdom; for Italy, the Chambers of Cagliari, Nuoro, Oristano, Palermo and Sassari are members
Both organisations are present in the association structure of Eurochambres and on the basis of the agreement they will be able to strengthen relations and cooperation in projects relating to sectors of shared interest, with particular regards to transport and logistics, tourism, the sustainable development of SMEs, agriculture, the environment and female entrepreneurship
This last understanding increases the collaborations that the AIC Forum has built up over the years with other European networks, such as Ascame, INCE, Eurochambres and NecsTouR, strengthening a chamber network of excellence on a European level and highlighting individual specificities
Networking and acting as a system is therefore method and substance for the Forum of the Chambers of Commerce of the Adriatic and Ionian Area and represents our heritage of values and experience to be invested in the future Adriatic Ionian Macro-Region.
The “Blue Growth” and the integrated maritime policy were central to the latest edition of the AIC Forum, which was held in Budva - Montenegro. By focusing on these issues this edition of the AIC Forum pursues the aim of supporting sustainable and integrated development processes, as suggested by the EU. This adds on to the endeavour to create greater unity between the various political sectors, reinforce cooperation and dialogue with local, regional and coastal authorities, as well as plan the maritime space
As indicated by the European Commission, an Integrated Maritime Policy will enhance Europe's capacity to face the challenges of globalisation and competitiveness, climate change, degradation of the marine environment, maritime safety and security, and energy security and sustainability. It must be based on excellence in marine research, technology and innovation, and will be anchored in the Lisbon agenda for jobs and growth, and the Lisbon agenda for sustainability
The Budva edition of the Forum focused on these issues. It saw the participation of about 250 delegates and the contribution of important personalities representing national and international organizations, like the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the DG for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the European delegation of Montenegro, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Council of Europe, the European Institute for Cultural Routes, the Italian Institute for Tourism Research Isnart, the Baltic Development Forum, the ASCAME – Italy Reley at the Cagliari Chamber of Commerce, the port authorities of Montenegro and Ancona, the Mediterranean Motorway Network (RAM), the Northern Adriatic Port Association (comprising the port authorities of Venice, Ravenna, Koper and Trieste), the Research Institute of Montenegro and the Oceanographic Institute of Croatia, the Blue Chamber Network, the NecsTour Network, the Forum of Adriatic and Ionian Cities and Towns, the Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce Unioncamere, the Marche Region and the Province of Ancona.
Several chambers of commerce (no. 21) member to the AIC Forum participated in Budva. The Chambers of Commerce of Serbia and Spain participated for the first time.
The Budva edition was enriched by the reports produced by the theme-specific Workgroups, which are the technical-operational tools that help outline the AIC Forum annual programme and its projects and initiatives. This method made it possible to promote significant cooperation and development activities for the areas of the Adriatic-Ionian basin over the years.
During the eleventh Edition of the Forum, the winners of the “Call for the concession
of prizes to innovative women enterprises of the Adriatic and Ionian Area” were awarded
33 entreprises participated to the competition of which 21 from Italy, 6 from Croatia, 3 from Albania, 2 from Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1 from Montenegro. Predominant sectors of the candidates are those related to services and manufacturing
The winning women-owned businesses were awarded with a cash prizes. Morover, all the participants in the contest will be granted a two free training days
Along with the winners, the other four women entreprises were awarded with a special mentions by the Judging Commission: for originality and innovation of the activities carried out, for implementation of good practices of environmental protection and for optimisation of human resources.
Framework Partnership Agreement between the Central European Initiative and the Forum
After a preliminary meeting of the CEI and the AIC Forum Secretary Generals, held in Trieste the 14th of April 2011, the Framework Partnership Agreement was undersigned in occasion of the 11th edition of the Forum (Budva – Montenegro)
The Agreement is aims to provide the parties with a general framework to strengthen their relations in order to enhance project-oriented cooperation in areas of common interest: transports, logistics, tourism, SMEs’ development, agriculture, environment and women entrepreneurship.
Ten years after its foundation, the Forum of the Chambers of Commerce of the Adriatic and Ionian Area, international association with its secretariat at the Ancona Chamber of Commerce (which brings together economic bodies of the Adriatic macro-region), has celebrated its plenary anniversary with a particularly well-attended meeting with a wealth of content. Here are a few numbers from 2010 edition of the AIC Forum, which took place in Ancona: 37 the number of member Chambers of Commerce, representing 7 countries and almost 300 participants The Bay of Portonovo, the Mole Vanvitelliana, decorated for the occasion, and the Loggia dei Mercanti, symbolic places which sum up the cross-border vocation of the city, were much admired by foreign guests Marking of the Ancona Forum, which has only just ended, was not only the opening to the sea and the socio-economic integration between people and countries who came along, but also the European spirit, the awareness of being part of a Union which offers possibilities for growth and visibility, and in which we must present as a compact Macro region.
The annual 2009 edition of the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce took place in Agrinio (Greece) at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Aetoloakarnania from 27th to 29th April
The choice of Greece as the country to host the 9th edition of the Forum made it possible for the AIC Forum Association to increasingly project itself into the Mediterranean
The 9th edition of the AIC Forum saw the participation of representatives of European institutions, of the partnership networks with seat in Ancona (Forum of Adriatic and Ionian Cities and Towns and Uniadrion Network), of the Permanent Secretariat of the Adriatic Ionian Initiative (AII), of the Marche Region, of the Province of Ancona, of representatives of bodies and associations, as well as of consultants expert in the traditional topics dealt with by the AIC Forum Workgroups
The three days of work were organised as follows, according to tradition:
· Meeting of the AIC Forum bodies: Board of Governors, International Court of the Adriatic and Ionian Area, Board of Auditors;
· Plenary session. During the plenary session, attention was paid to the influence of the world crisis on the Adriatic and Ionian area, as well as to cooperation programmes especially targeted to the Mediterranean area, which are focussed on technological innovation and sustainable development;
· Meeting of the Workgroups;
· General meeting of AIC Forum members.
The 8th Edition of the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chamber of Commerce took place in Makarska from 22nd to 24th April 2008.
The event fits in the picture of the new 2007/2013 community planning, within which, the Chambers of Commerce, have undertaken a key role for the development and the competitiveness of their territories, as they are considered bodies servicing the enterprises able to carry out a connecting role with other institutions.
The plenary session was divided into two phases respectively entitled “Political trends and development proposals of the Adriatic-Ionian area” and “The EU 2007/2013 interests programmes for the Adriatic-Ionian area: the pre-accession instrument IPA”. (Instruments of the Pre-Accessions Assistance)
The achievement, for the second time, of the patronage of the European Parliament President has strengthened the role and the position of the Forum in Brussels, undertaken by the association in 2007. The edition took place in Croatia, which will shortly be joining the EU, and has promoted, due to the importance of the subjects dealt with, considerations on the integration process of the non EU Countries associated with the Forum.
The heterogeneous group of the territories represents a challenge in continuing to help the balanced development and integration of the area, as well as a permanent dialog between the Countries that look on to the same sea, constitutes the basis for an economic, social and cultural cooperation of the whole basin.
The Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce VII edition took place in Portonovo, Ancona from the 28th to 30th of May 2007. Due to the importance of the topics discussed, the event was carried out for the first time under the auspices of the European Parliament. Important international guests provided their views on the current and future economic and political background in which the Forum has been operating for years.
The process of European integration of the western Balkans represents, above all, a convincing and efficacious incentive towards the consolidation of stable relations started in 2001 between the Ancona Chamber of Commerce and the Split Chamber of Economy. The two chambers are co-founders of the Association that at this moment comprises 30 associated chambers in different countries around the Adriatic Sea. The Forum fostered a great number of projects through its workshops (topic tables), representing each one either as a leading force, a work partner or a privileged body in the achievement of the completion of single initiatives for promoting the area’s territories.
The involvement of the European Parliament proves that the Forum now represents an example of good practice in terms of continuing to support the economic development in the Adriatic basin: the Association has already undertaken an accreditation path in Brussels which will be completed with the official presentation to the European Parliament in September. The accreditation process is a very important benchmark towards full legal acknowledgment, which is a strategic requirement to sustain what the EU and the Balkans are trying to build together
Following EU enlargement (1st of May 2004), the European policy for neighbouring countries is aimed at establishing close relations based on partnerships, even with non-European countries. The Forum, together with the Ancona Chamber of Commerce community planning office, is promoting initiatives of international dimensions in the Balkan area. The goal of these initiatives is to coordinate cooperation activities amongst different countries in sectors which are of mutual social and economic interest. This will be done via the use of EU community resources made available with the new 2007/2013 program.
On last 25th and 26th of May it was held in Durres (Albania) the 6th edition of the Forum of the Chambers of Commerce of the Adriatic and Ionian area.
In this occasion were held the six traditional workshops on Tourism, Transports, Women Entrepreneurship, Fishing and Aquaculture, Agriculture and Environment.
The fifth session of the Forum has been held in Budva - Bečići (Montenegro), at the Montenegrostars Hotel, on last 16th, 17th and 18th May. This new session included one more day of work, on account of the need to report on the Forum’s increasing involvement, as either promoter or partner, in projects to be financed either by the EC or by governments. According to the Forum’s tradition, the thematic Workgroups – meetings among international experts, institutional representatives, and, since the last session, entrepreneurs from Adriatic and Ionian countries - dealt with the following subjects: Women Entrepreneurship (co-ordinated by the Split Chamber of Economy); Fishing/Fish Farming (co-ordinated by the Montenegro Chamber of Economy); Transports (co-ordinated by the Montenegro Chamber of Economy); Tourism (co-ordinated by the Ancona Chamber of Commerce); Agriculture (co-ordinated by the Chamber of Economy of the Federation of BiH); Environment (co-ordinated by the Rijeka Chamber of Economy).
On last 21st and 22nd april, at Hotel Zenit in Neum, it was held the 4th edition of the Forum of the Chambers of Commerce of the Adriatic and Ionian area. On this occasion two new workgroups - on Agriculture and Environment and sea defence - were established. What is more, a new member country took part in the event: Slovenia.
Nell'amena cornice della riviera della Thesprotia, in Grecia, si è tenuta il 16 e il 17 maggio 2003 la terza edizione del Forum delle Camere di Commercio dell'Adriatico e dello Ionio, associazione volontaria e transnazionale tra gli enti camerali dei paesi che si affacciano sul bacino adriatico-ionico, costituita allo scopo di promuovere progetti di cooperazione transfrontaliera su tematiche economico-giuridiche di interesse comune.
Si sono tenuti giovedì 18 aprile 2002, a Portonovo di Ancona, i lavori del secondo Forum delle Camere di Commercio dell’Adriatico e dello Ionio. Vi hanno partecipato 15 delegazioni italiane di città adriatiche, 14 di altrettante città dirimpettaie e rappresentanti di istituzioni dell’una e dell’altra sponda, per un totale di 85 delegati
La giornata di lavoro si è strutturata in due parti: una istituzionale ed introduttiva ed una operativa. Nella prima hanno portato il loro contributo, tra gli altri, il presidente della Giunta regionale Marche, il sindaco di Ancona, i presidenti delle Camere di Commercio di Ancona e dalmate, i presidenti di Unioncamere nazionale e regionale, il presidente della Provincia di Ancona. Sono seguiti gli interventi tecnici dei rappresentanti dell’Unione europea sui programmi per la cooperazione internazionale, che hanno rappresentato la base di discussione per i lavori pomeridiani. I delegati si sono suddivisi in tre ‘tavoli tematici’ dedicati ai trasporti, al turismo e alla pesca/acquacoltura. “La comune volontà di cooperare dovrebbe fare superare molte barriere”, ha auspicato il presidente della CCIAA dorica Augusto Bocchini.
Il 12 ottobre 2001 presso la Camera dell’Economia di Spalato si è tenuto il primo incontro tra i presidenti delle Camere di Commercio delle due sponde dell’Adriatico. All’incontro, organizzato dalla Camera dell’Economia di Spalato, hanno partecipato, oltre al presidente dell’ente camerale dorico Augusto Bocchini, i Presidenti delle Camere di Rijeka, Pula, Zadar, Šibenik, Dubrovnik, il Vice Presidente della Federazione delle Camere dell’Economia della Bosnia-Erzegovina , il Vice Presidente della Camera di Commercio di Ravenna. Scopo della riunione, iniziare a lavorare allo sviluppo dell’economia delle rispettive regioni, attraverso una conoscenza reciproca approfondita, lo scambio di proposte di collaborazione e la definizione di una metodologia di lavoro condivisa.