The Meeting of the Heads of Government of the 18 CEI Member States (CEI Summit) took place in Sarajevo today, 13 December, back to back with the last CNC Meeting under the BiH CEI Presidency.

Participants exchanged views on the European integration process in the light of the migration crisis as well as on infrastructural connectivity of the CEI Region as a precondition for sustainable development and regional and European integration processes.

“Today, threats to security and stability arise from many coincident challenges. In order to achieve more security we need to rebuild trust” said CEI Secretary General, Amb. Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri, in his welcome speech. “The need for more cooperation, more synergies, more interaction among the institutions in combating the crisis is obvious: we can accomplish our missions only in cooperation with others. There is an urgent need to join forces”, he also emphasised. In this context, he recalled the Extraordinary Call for Proposals of the CEI Cooperation Fund launched for supporting activities aimed at tackling the migrant crisis and the related security issues, in collaboration with other organisations. “European integration processes have a great responsibility in this context, as does regional cooperation. Our project-oriented approach, our strong operational character, and our initiatives to urgently respond to critical issues and create a good business environment and a knowledge-based economy will serve best to increase the security as well as the competitiveness and overall economic performance of our region”, he added.

“In this critical moment for all of us, when we are facing an unprecedented migration crisis in the region, an increased extremism, a slowdown in the adoption of the EU standards and in the economic development, a European enlargement fatigue and a loss of young and talented people, our continent and region need more cooperation and coordination. The CEI can play an important role and assist in bringing back the principles on which Europe was founded”, said the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Zvizdic.

Belarusian Prime Minister, Andrei Kobyakov remarked that the organisation of the CEI Summit in the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina had special significance. “It is a vivid testimony of the inestimable value of peaceful life after all the immeasurable suffering and grief the people here have witnessed. It underscores the inescapable need to work together despite all our differences on the basis of mutual respect” stated Kobyakov. “It makes us remember that we are jointly responsible for a better future of Europe and our region, for ensuring social stability and sustainable development in all our countries through genuine cooperation.”

The Summit witnessed the formal transfer of the CEI Presidency from Bosnia and Herzegovina (2016) to Belarus (2017). “Belarus CEI Presidency will give the Eastern neighbourhood dimension of CEI a special importance and boost and balance CEI activities - on the one hand in the Western Balkan countries and on the other hand in its Eastern Neighbourhood countries” remarked the CEI Secretary General.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the CEI and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) - which has just recently become a UN system organisation- was signed as a side event of the CEI Summit. This cooperation agreement between the two organisations comes at a particularly critical moment for the region as the migration crisis represents a serious threat to societies. In this context, there is a need for more cooperation among all the stakeholders concerned in order to increase the confidence and rebuild trust. The MoU represents a good basis for joining forces and tackling common challenges.


Plenary (Photo by: Council of Min. BiH)


Family photo (Photo by: Council of Min. BiH)


Signing of MoU between CEI and IOM (Photo by: BelTA)