The Ministers of Agriculture from South-Eastern Europe organised by Serbia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and the Regional Development Standing Working Group (SWG), virtually gathered for their 14th Annual Working Meeting on 17 November.  

Ministers and Heads of Delegations from the region discussed regional cooperation and reforms in the sector of agriculture and rural development within the process of EU approximation of the SEE region.

CEI DSG Zoran Jovanovic stressed that since its inception the CEI had been supporting regional cooperation in Central and South-Eastern Europe with its tailor-made financial mechanisms; and taking into account the need to further strengthen the capacities of the Member States in the field of agriculture, the CEI considered it  a crucial target area. He explained that  through the CEI Cooperation Fund dedicated to small-scale projects, the Organisation had supported 64 projects so far, and with its fund at the EBRD, the CEI supported agriculture and agribusiness through technical assistance or development programmes aimed at increasing competitiveness, market expansion and the transfer of know-how in the sector.

Jovanovic also pointed out that through the EU-funded Projects, designed, managed and implemented by the CEI Secretariat, the CEI acknowledged the fundamental role of the rural and agro-food sector in the region as a driver for the gradual shift to circular bioeconomy.

The discussions also touched upon the current situation and the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in this sector.

For more info: jovanovic@cei.int