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The Political Conference of the European Straits Initiative: Setting Sail for Albania

Published the 16 July 2015

 

On 22nd October 2014, the member local authorities of the ESI renewed their commitment for a further 4 years and ratified an Action Plan, one of the most notable aspects of which was the establishment of dedicated work groups in collaboration with interested partners, pursuing exchanges and best practices, and detailing the arguments for straits’ advocacy. The next political conference will take place on 8th October 2015, and will be an opportunity for the partnership to solidify the future planning and direction of the ESI via the creation of these dedicated working groups.

A year after their last meeting in Brussels, representatives from the member local authorities will gather in Vlora, Albania, to establish dedicated thematic commissions and build upon the work that has taken place since 2010. The conference will be an opportunity to engage with the most significant challenges encountered in and around the straits of Europe, focusing on issues pertaining to: transport and mobility in European straits; the environment, biodiversity and climate change; the natural and cultural heritage and the development of tourism in and around the straits. Other subjects such as economic development will also be tackled.

Representatives from the Albanian government and ambassadors from the countries represented by members of the ESI will also be invited to join the debate, as the organisation aims to draw the attention of European decision-makers towards the particular potential offered by the geography of straits. The meeting will also be an occasion to officially welcome new members in the European Straits Initiative, notably from the straits of Gibraltar and Corfu.

A half-day will be dedicated to inter-strait cooperation. The local government of Pas-de-Calais (Dover Strait), the Italian province of Lecce and the Region of Vlora (Strait of Otranto) will be working closely together, aiming to strengthen trilateral cooperation for the development of tourism in their respective regions.

Finally, the meeting will also be an opportunity for elected officials and technicians from the various local authorities’ members of the ESI to learn more about the Strait of Otranto and to strengthen their appreciation of the development issues linked to Albania's new status as a candidate for entry into the EU during a visit to the strait.

An event that promises to deliver!

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