On 12 November, the CEI-Executive Secretariat in cooperation with the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro, officially launched the CEI Local Dimension in Podgorica in the framework of the Montenegrin CEI Presidency.
The on-line event - moderated by Refik Bojadzic, Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro - gathered representatives of national associations as well as international and regional CEI partners. It served to present the CEI’s institutional and project activities; to get acquainted with the CEI financial mechanisms; discuss further cooperation in the framework of this new Organisational Body, in line with the CEI Plan of Action 2021-2023 as well as bring to light the untapped potential of the local areas in sustainable development.
Secretary General Roberto Antonione underlined that the CEI had always been active in fostering cooperation among representatives of local and regional authorities at both political and project level, and in line with its core mission: promoting regional cooperation for European integration and sustainable development; and explained that the establishment of this 4th CEI pillar along the existing governmental, parliamentary and economic ones were endorsed by the CEI Ministers of Foreign Affairs to step up a more structured cooperation and effectively respond to the needs of the Member States.
Participants strongly commended the CEI’s initiative and expressed their readiness to build upon this new pillar; they emphasised that the voice of local authorities had ample room for action, experience exchange and joint-project development. Attention was paid, among others, to boosting democracy, the rule of law and to the importance of creating partnerships/networks at local level; and strengthening cross-border cooperation and connectivity were described as two instruments at the basis of European integration.
As announced by the representative of the Association of the Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria, the 1st operational meeting of the CEI Local Dimension is envisaged to take place in June 2022 in the framework of the forthcoming Bulgarian CEI Presidency.
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