The 1st Committee of National Coordinators' meeting, held in Rome on 22 February, was opened by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Enzo Moavero Milanesi. He singled out some of the priorities of the Italian CEI Presidency, in particular: strengthening cooperation with the EU, especially the European Commission; better exploiting the CEI's observer status at the UN; exploring ways to extend cooperation with local and regional entities. 

On the 30th anniversary of its foundation, the CEI continues to have a twofold role: on the one hand, as a specific forum of political debate and, on the other hand, as a functional and versatile instrument of economic, business and environmental cooperation for several countries that feel part of this vast area of the European continent. Italy, during this year’s Presidency, and responding to the hope expressed by the Member States of the CEI, especially aims to consolidate its operational capacity with special attention for tangible results” the Minister said.

The National Coordinators, or their representatives, of all 17 CEI Member States welcomed the Italian priorities and expressed their willingness to work together on making this year a success.

CEI Secretary General, Roberto Antonione thanked the Minister for his support and welcomed the priorities of the 2019 Italian CEI Presidency. “Your participation in the official opening of the Italian CEI Presidency 2019, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of our Organisation, is an honor for us and represents a high political recognition from the Italian Government: it also shows the strong will from Italy to continue supporting our Organisation. The Presidency's political priorities are in line with the challenges we are currently facing. I am sure that we will all do our part, because we all share the same enthusiasm to build together a future of peace, development and cohesion for our citizens,” said Antonione.

Items on the agenda of the meeting also included comprehensive information from the CEI-Executive Secretariat on recent and upcoming activities in the framework of the Governmental, Parliamentary and Business dimensions of the CEI as well as on cooperation with international institutions.

Moreover, four technical cooperation projects were approved by the National Coordinators, as a support to EBRD investments and activities in the CEI region (Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries of the constituency) with an amount of 460,000 EUR, out of the CEI Fund at the EBRD, provided by Italy.

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