The CEI has recently become a member-partner of the Silk Road Think Tank Network (SiLKS), an informal international network initiated in 2015 by think tanks, relevant international organisations, and institutions jointly with the Development Research Center of the State Council of China. The network currently counts 54 members and partners.
 
CEI Secretary General, Ambassador Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri, stated that the membership was made official during the annual SiLKS conference in Beijing on 16 May. During the event, the CEI -  inter alia - stressed that the SiLKS membership would bring to the network, in-depth knowledge and understanding of and direct links with the 18 CEI Member States. The potential of the Port of Trieste (Italy) in the framework of the New Silk Road was also recalled, since it is located in the heart of Europe and constitutes a natural crossroad between East and West.
 
The SiLKS event was organised back to back with the summit of world leaders “Belt and Road Forum” hosted by President Xi Jinping in Beijing on May 14 and attended by 28 Heads of State as well as by most prominent international organisations and financial institutions.
 
The link between the CEI and the SiLKS was initiated last year, when the CEI and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), on May 19, jointly hosted in Trieste the International Conference “Supporting Local Enterprises and SMEs along China’s Belt and Road Initiative in South Eastern Europe”. The event aimed at providing a high-level platform for a discussion focused on the South Eastern European route of China’s Belt and Road Initiative with an emphasis on investment and growth potential for local enterprises and SMEs as a result of the “New Silk Road” infrastructure corridor investments. The conference gathered more than 350 key stakeholders including the European Commission, Chinese official authorities and investors, high-level representatives of South Eastern European governments and the private sector, as well as relevant International Financial Institutions.
 

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