As a continuation of the work initiated in the first round of meetings held on March-April 2015, representatives of the eight participating countries gathered together to define the priority actions where the work should start. They also discussed mapping of the available funding sources and sources of data for establishing baselines and target values which would then allow monitoring the progress in the Strategy's implementation. Moreover, they discussed the Rules of Procedure and other key issues such as the appointment of duly empowered TSG members from participating countries.

In Podgorica (Montenegro) on 25 June, the Thematic Steering Group (TSG) for Pillar 1 (Blue Growth) discussed a set of specific criteria to identify and assess EUSAIR relevant projects which contribute to the objectives of this particular pillar, such as increasing marine R&I investments as well as the added value of fisheries and aquaculture in the macro-region, or improving fisheries sustainable management in the Adriatic-Ionian sea basin.

TSG for Pillar 2 (Connecting the Region) met in Belgrade on 6/7 July. It discussed possible priorities for the topic "Maritime transport" such as the harmonisation of technical and security norms and standards by optimising data exchange. In relation to the topic "intermodal connections for the hinterland", special attention should be devoted to upgrading roads, rail and the overall intermodal transport systems. Synergies with the so-called "Berlin process", defining Western Balkan priorities, identifying core networks and the extension of TEN-T, are considered crucial. On the sector of energy, the integrated energy market investments were suggested as a priority.

                         The TSG for Pillar 2 in Belgrade.


The second meeting of the TSG for Pillar 3 (Environmental Quality) took place in Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina) on 15/16 June. A ‘tour de table’ regarding relevant national data bases made it clear that considerable data sources are already available with respect to the topics of this pillar, although gathering comparability remains a major challenge. Regarding the action domains on which the countries wished to concentrate over the next 2 years, the main criteria determining the choice were: relevance to types of ecosystems well represented in the countries concerned, and degree of interdependence with fellow participating countries for designing adequate responses.

                       The TSG for Pillar 3 in Sarajevo.

The TSG for Pillar 4 (Sustainable Tourism) met in Zagreb (Croatia) on 29/30 June. It took stock of the “International Stakeholders Conference on sustainable tourism as a pillar of the EUSAIR” held in Heraklion, Crete on 11/12 June 2015.Based on the conclusions of the Conference and the experience on the ground, the TSG will announce, by September 2015, three “common priorities” to kick-off its activities. It is foreseen that these priorities will mainly focus on the thematic touristic routes, cultural heritage, and strengthening of skills through training. In addition, the TSG will also define three “specific actions” linked to upcoming COSME calls for proposals, e.g. on SMEs development, maritime tourism, etc. Furthermore, during the meeting, the TSG adopted its Rules of Procedure in order to start its timely functioning.

                      The TSG for Pillar 4 in Zagreb.