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​CEI Summit held in Minsk, Belarus

The Meeting of the Heads of Government of the 18 CEI Member States (CEI Summit) took place in Minsk on 12 December, back to back with the last CNC Meeting under the Belarusian CEI Presidency.
On top of the agenda, the role of the CEI Member States in promoting connectivity and interoperability among various integration processes in a Wider Europe. In particular, the delegations highlighted the importance of the development of transport and infrastructure interconnections between the EU, Eastern Partnership countries and various European sub-regions. The migration issue was also debated from the viewpoint of good migration management and inclusive economic integration as a means to overcome tensions in society as well as the economic slowdown. The need for joining efforts against terrorism, with special attention to countering cyber-terrorism, was also mentioned during the meeting.
The Summit adopted the CEI Plan of Action 2018-2020. The main goal of the document is to bring the CEI Member States closer together in joint initiatives and encourage further regional cooperation in a structured and result-oriented manner. Moreover, the Plan of Action will offer the necessary framework to steer the CEI’s future action, while committing the Organisation to a constant improvement of its performance. In this regard, the CEI Summit proposed several measures to be further considered by the relevant structures, necessary for a smooth implementation of this strategic document.  
The gathering also witnessed the formal transfer of the CEI Presidency from Belarus to Croatia.
In his welcome speech, H.E. Mr. Andrei Kobyakov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus, highlighted that “the CEI has proved its relevance as a venue for promoting dialogue and cooperation in a wide range of areas”. According to Kobyakov, the CEI Presidency “was not only a challenge but also an important and useful experience for the country. Belarus focused its Presidency on promoting compatibility and complementarity in a greater Europe. There is an increasing need to develop logistics and transport infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in the context of aligning the Chinese Belt and Road initiative with the transport network of the European Union. Belarus did its best to add momentum to the effort to synchronize the plans on the joint expansion of transport infrastructure, simplify customs procedures, develop logistics services, and harmonize the digital markets of the CEI member states”.
CEI Alternate Secretary General, Amb. Margot Klestil-Löffler underlined that a number of topical issues had been tackled throughout the year. “This allowed us to work out future priorities. We now face most serious problems such as climate change, cyberterrorism, and illegal migration. We understand that we should set strategic goals that will help us resolve such problems,” she explained. Referring to the newly adopted CEI Plan of Action 2018-2020, she emphasised that “It will add new dynamics to our actions. For the next three years we will prepare a roadmap and will be thankful to all the countries for active participation in this work”. “We look forward to fruitful cooperation with Croatia, which will preside over the CEI in 2018. We hope the country will rely on continuity and will also make an active contribution to enhancing our organization” Klestil-Löffler added.

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