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​1st CNC Meeting under Belarusian CEI Presidency held in Minsk

The first meeting of the Committee of National Coordinators, under the Belarusian CEI Presidency, was held in Minsk on 14 February.
The gathering was opened by H.E. Vladimir Makei, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, who stressed the importance his country attached to the Organisation. While presenting the focus of the Belarusian CEI Presidency on "Connectivity in a Wider Europe", he highlighted the significant role the CEI could play in this context. He also underlined its role as a link between the countries from Eastern, Central and South Eastern Europe, encompassing both EU and non-EU countries.

Thanks to the unique composition of the Organisation, Makei saw the Belarusian CEI Presidency as a timely opportunity for a more active involvement of Belarus in European integration processes. Moreover, having in mind the interdependance of the countries of its constituency in a broader aspect - especially considering the common problems such as the ongoing migration crisis, but also in terms of mobility, freetrade and other matters - joint efforts in tackling such issues were deemed necessary.

During their discussions, the National Coordinators took note of the Presidency’s planned programme of activities, in particular the high-level and expert meetings requesting an active participation by all Member States. 
The CEI Secretariat briefed the CNC on its recent and upcoming activities. Special attention was paid to the activities planned for enhancing relations with the CEI Member States as well as with other international organisations, i.e. the EU, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the IOM and UNESCO.

Participants also shared views on the reform of the CEI Governance, in particular with regard to the strengthening of the multilateral aspect of the organisation, including the preparation of the next CEI Plan of Action, to be approved by the end of the year, and the CEI Cooperation Fund to which all CEI Member States contribute with apportioned contributions.
Finally the CNC reviewed and approved the Cooperation Activities (small scale projects taking the form of conferences, workshops, expert meetings etc.) submitted for financing from the Cooperation Fund: 17 activities covering areas such as culture, energy, SMEs, climate and environment, media and information society, will be supported with more than 100.000 EUR.

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