Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova RH

Multilateral Relations

Official name: The Working Community of Cantons, Provinces, Counties, Regions and Republics in the Eastern Alps Area.

Members (9): Burgenland, Carinthia and Styria (Austria); Republic of Croatia; Friuli-Julian March, Lombardy, Veneto (Italy); Vas (Hungary); Republic of Slovenia.

Establishment: Established on 20 November 1978 in Venice with the signature of the Joint Declaration of regional Prime Ministers, as an association of border regions in the Eastern Alps and Northern Adriatic areas. The association has no legal personality.

Participation of the Republic of Croatia: Croatia has been participating since the beginning in 1978, as a founder, the then federal republic of the former SFRY, and since 1992, as an independent state (same as Slovenia).

Main documents: Joint Declaration from 1978; Rules of Procedure (in effect: the updated versions from 2000) with annexes;

Goals: jointly discussing and coordinating issues that are in the interest of the members; developing cooperation and exchange in the Alps-Adriatic area; strengthening the Central European cultural identity; inclusion in the processes of European cooperation and integration; support for the admission of candidate states from the area of the AAWC to the EU, and nomination of joint projects for co-financing from EU assistance programs.
Main areas of cooperation: sport, tourism, environmental protection, connecting cities, preserving cultural and recreational areas, cultural and scientific ties, information, European integration.

AAWC Presidency: every two years, one of the members takes over the presidency of the AAWC, rotating in the alphabetical order of the vernacular names of the members. For the time being (2011 and 2012), the AAWC is presided over by Croatia.

Official and working languages: Croatian, Slovenian, Italian, German, Hungarian. All documents are translated into all the languages, and at all the meetings the chair is obliged to arrange, at its own expense, the translation into the languages of all the members. For individual meetings or sessions specific languages of the members - or English in case of the Working Group for Relations with the EU- are designated as the working languages.

Financial support and sponsorship: provided to many joint projects, prepared within working groups. The appropriate decision is made by the Executive Committee. A prerequisite to approving financial support for projects is that a project includes members from at least three states. Project and sponsorship applications are possible via Application for Financing from the Joint Budget. The filled-in application form is to be sent to the currently presiding member and the Secretariat in Klagenfurt.


  • Plenary Assembly of Primer Ministers of the members. They meet once a year, usually in November, to evaluate the activities conducted, determine the main tasks for the coming period, accept joint documents, conclusions and declarations.
  • Executive Committee (EC), the main executive body that includes permanent representatives. They decide on the current activities and initiate individual actions, debate and decide on the proposals coming from commissions, and coordinate the activities of working and project groups. They also decide on the financial support for projects and on sponsorships. They make the preparations for the Plenary Assembly, including the proposed conclusions.
  • Presidency is responsible for preparing the meetings of the EC. It consists of representatives of the former, current and future presidencies. They meet 1 to 3 weeks prior to a meeting of the EC. They assist the EC in the implementation of its responsibilities towards the Plenary Assembly.
  • Expert and project groups established at the request of one or more members with a view to implementing particular projects.

The AAWC Secretariat is located at Klagenfurt. The Secretariat takes care of the administration, organisation and coordination.

Independently, yet in cooperation with the Working Community, events and manifestations in are organised in the Alps–Adriatic area, often sponsored by AAWC (the right to use the sign – logo).

Chairing the AAWC bodies and decision making: the Presidency of the AAWC is appointed for two years, and the office is then passed on in the alphabetical order. The Presidency chairs the Plenary Assembly, the Executive Committee, and the Project Group for Relations to the EU. The Presidency is responsible for undertaking initiatives and call meetings. All the conclusions are taken by consensus, and this is the basic principle of the AAWC operation.

Projects: to date, a great number of technical reports and studies have been prepared, various publications and promotional materials have been published, numerous professional, cultural and sports events have taken place, as well as conferences and symposiums, a website has been set up etc. Projects are prepared and realised by representatives of the line ministries and of the cultural and professional institutions of the members.

Collective membership and cooperation with others: The AAWC is a collective member of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR). The AAWC cooperates with other European integration processes as well, such as the Central European Initiative, the Alps Regions Working Community, the Adriatic–Ionian Initiative. The AAWC is one of the founders of the Assembly of European Regions. It enjoys the status of a consulting member with the Council of Europe. It is increasingly cooperating with the authorities and institutions of the EU.

Croatian presidency in 2011 and 2012

In the next two-year period, the AAWC will be chaired by Croatia. Croatia took over from the Friuli-Julian March at the Plenary Assembly in Trieste on 22 November 2010. Croatia's program and the activities planned can be viewed in Program Guidelines of Croatian presidency.  


Within the framework of the Croatian presidency, three meetings took place in Zagreb in 2011:

  • Presidency (6 May), including Friuli-Julian March, Croatia and Carinthia, to prepare the meeting of the Executive Committee. They introduced the framework program of the Croatian presidency and proposed activities for strengthening the identity and visibility of the AAWC. Received project proposals and sponsorship applications were evaluated.
  • Executive Committee (27 May), brought together all the active members and coordinators of active project groups. They agreed on setting up an Ad hoc Group to develop political guidelines, future projects and areas of activity. Project and sponsorship funding was approved.
  • Ad hoc Group, second meeting on 13 September (the first meeting took place in Klagenfurt on 13 July). They harmonised the draft of the closing declaration that will be adopted at the Plenary Assembly in November.

Information about AAWC can be found on the AAWC website, with presentations of all aspects of cooperation, historical overview, activities and calendar of major events, addresses and links, in all the five languages of the Alps–Adriatic Working Community and in English: