CEI Secretary General Ambassador Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri attended the Western Balkans Investment Summit hosted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) at its headquarters in London on 22 February.
In particular, he actively participated in the panel on "Renewable energy and grid modernisation for a sustainable regional energy model" moderated by EBRD Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources, Riccardo Puliti. Energy links, proposed interconnections, current obstacles to deeper energy market integration and sustainable energy goals as well as the potential for renewable sources for energy, especially hydro power generation, were discussed in the framework of this session. Ambassador Caracciolo provided valuable inputs from a “regional cooperation perspective”. They were reflections originating from the special bond between the CEI and the EBRD.
While opening the Summit, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti underlined that the EBRD would continue working to improve the investment climate in the Western Balkans and urged investors worldwide to join the Bank in helping the region achieve its potential. He also addressed the audience by mentioning that there was the chance to discuss these challenges further “at a conference on  Supporting local enterprises and SMEs along China’s Belt and Road Initiative in South Eastern Europe organised jointly with our long-standing partner and pioneer of regional cooperation, the Central European Initiative, in Trieste in May” he said.
The overall event - where Prime Ministers from the region joined entrepreneurs and other investors to discuss business opportunities in seven countries - aimed at highlighting investment and business opportunities in the region and at promoting the inflow of foreign direct investment and cross-border projects. Participants ranged from government officials, policy-makers, experts as well as leading domestic and international business representatives. The gathering focused in particular on: the development of transport links, the potential for renewable energy and the privatisation agenda in the region. It took place after the first Western Balkans Investment Forum at the EBRD in February 2014 which, for the first time, had brought together all the Prime Ministers from the region.
The EBRD is one of the largest investors in the Western Balkans and last year alone the Bank invested around 1 billion EUR in various projects, ranging from energy efficiency to infrastructure and from support for financial institutions to agribusiness. In 1992, the Italian Government established the CEI Fund at the EBRD with the aim to assist the Bank’s countries of operation in Central and Eastern Europe in their economic and social transformation process.
  •  Chakrabarti's speech available here