Medjunarodni problemi 2003 Volume 55, Issue 3-4, Pages: 413-433
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At the beginning of the article the author gives a short survey of all important past forms of co-operation of the Balkan countries. Within the dense network of various forms for establishment of co-operation in the Balkans the latest one was the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative (AII) presented three years ago. In the author's opinion the Initiative resulted from the attempt of Italy to expand its influence to this region as well as its aspiration to make a counter-balance to Germany, which obviously exerts the greatest influence of all EU states in this part of Europe. The author presents the development of the Initiative since it was established in 2000 up to 2003. He expounds the chronology of AII creation, analysing the documents it has adopted so far, its basic principles and objectives, organisational structure, forms of cooperation and particularly the work of the round (working) tables as the most important form through which its activities are carried out. In a separate part the author has described the initiative that preceded AII and it was the Forum of Cities on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Today, the Forum is only a part of AII. The Initiative is headed by the AII Council; it meets at least once a year and at the beginning it was composed of ministers of foreign affairs of member states. Today, the Council also embraces speakers, and the last meeting was also attended by heads of states or governments of AII member states. Acting of the Initiative has been made operational through the work of the following working tables: education and inter-university cooperation; security and cooperation in reducing illegal activities; the round table for culture, working tables for environmental protection, sustainable development and resources preservation; the round table for economy, tourism, medium- and small-size entrepreneurship and the round table for maritime business and traffic. Analysing the work of the round tables the author points to the fact that member states make efforts to establish as close as possible the cooperation in the most important economic, security, cultural and educational fields, endeavouring to establish and improve not only the multilateral but the bilateral cooperation, too. The author is also of the opinion that cooperation within AII can be one of the opportunities to accelerate the accession to the European Union of these AII member countries that have before them a long way to join the European integration institutions. The last part of the article analyses the participation of representatives from Serbia and Montenegro in AII as well as the opportunities the Initiative offers to our state to achieve development and integration into EU. Our country has a favourable opportunity to display through this and some other initiatives its will to cooperate, this particularly including the fields of security, education and economy. The author points to the fact that Serbia and Montenegro insufficiently attaches importance to the Initiative since there is a lack of common and coordinated acting of participants from our state. As the author says at the end of the paper, greater attention should be devoted to the Initiative as a means to accede to EU and other European integrations, because the ultimate goal is to establish peace, stability and prosperity in the region and Europe as a whole.
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