The Ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in Rome, representing the Visegrad Group (V4), visited the CEI Secretariat in Trieste on 5 October.
The meeting, promoted by the Polish Presidency of V4, aimed at exchanging views on cooperation possibilities taking into account common interests and objectives, especially towards the Western Balkans.
A priority for both the CEI and the V4 Group is to contribute to the advancement of the EU enlargement of the Western Balkans, which is considered as a fundamental element for the stabilisation of the Region.
Amb. Hana Hubackova (Czech Republic), Amb. Tomasz Orlowski (Poland), Amb. Jan Soth (Slovakia) and Amb. Peter Paczolay (Hungary) highlighted the key role the CEI has played since its establishment as a platform promoting political dialogue as well as economic and social development in the Region. They all expressed their wish for an enhanced cooperation and major involvement of their countries in the CEI activities.
CEI Secretary General Amb. Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri pointed out the challenges the CEI was currently facing and the possible synergies which could be promoted with the V4 Group. In particular, he referred to the Western Balkans Process (whose Summit in 2017 will be hosted in Italy), the Macro-Regional strategies, the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, the migration issues.
The participants also discussed possibilities for cooperation at project level with the aim of finding opportunities to pull together resources and expertise, especially considering the experience achieved through the CEI Cooperation Fund and the Visegrad Fund.
The meeting also included technical presentations on the CEI Fund at the EBRD, the CEI participation in EU projects, the CEI activities in the field of migration. Cooperation in the field of culture was also emphasised in the light of the common cultural heritage shared by the V4 countries and of possible activities to be promoted in the CEI framework.