On 15 February 2019, a delegation of the Western Balkans Fund (WBF) composed of Executive Director, Gjergj Murra; a Senior Official from the MFA of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milos Prica; and Programme Manager, Dafina Beqiri, visited the CEI-Executive Secretariat in Trieste. They met with CEI Secretary General, Roberto Antonione; Alternate SG, Antal Nikoletti; Deputy SG, Nina Kodelja, and some senior officers.
The aim of the gathering was to exchange information about respective programmes and activities as well as explore possibilities for synergies and cooperation. Indeed, the two institutions shared many similarities with regard to the promotion of regional cooperation and good-neighbourly relations, in particular through mobility and people-to-people contacts.
The WBF representatives highlighted the main mission of the WBF, which is to promote closer cooperation within the Western Balkans. They briefed on activities in the framework of the two Calls for regional projects launched since its official starting of operations.
The CEI Secretary General expressed appreciation for the results achieved by the WBF, underlining that the CEI also had a clear mission and that it was promoting European integration. "On one side, we support our countries in the Western Balkans in their EU Enlargement Process and, on the other, the countries of the Eastern Partnership in establishing closer links with the EU", he said.
Both parties emphasised that the Western Balkans were part of Europe and that the EU would not be complete without it. They also highlighted that building a prosperous region together required common standards and joint actions. They agreed on the importance of cooperation in order to make the best possible use of available resources, leverage funds and share information and experience.