Support to Ukraine; energy and food security; and the European integration, were the main topics of discussion at the informal MFA meeting in New York on 22 September, held on the margins of the UN General Assembly, where the CEI has observer status.
Foreign Minister Nikolay Milkov of Bulgaria who hosted the event, expressed appreciation for the work of the Organisation based on a result-oriented approach, demonstrated also with the CEI’s response to support Ukraine. Milkov stressed the importance of the EU candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova, and highlighted the European vocation of all CEI countries.
Secretary General (SG) Antonione, while also expressing unwavering support to Ukraine, singled out several concrete activities of the Secretariat in support of the country such as its contribution to the setting up of a field hospital in southern Ukraine and the support to displaced people in the neighbouring countries with a pilot project allowing the Ukrainian students to continue their studies in Warsaw through a Ukrainian Educational Hub.
He proposed a CEI visit to Ukraine to develop further tailor-made initiatives to help the country and its people. Antonione also drew the attention to the need to advance European integration with all countries concerned, calling for particular attention towards the Western Balkans process, and reiterating that European integration was the only quest for the stability and security of the region.
The Ministers discussed the consequences of the war in the countries of the region because of their geographical vicinity; its eventual escalation which could jeopardise their overall security, directly affecting the lives of the citizens; and the negative effects on energy and food security. Energy diversification and no alternative to European integration, with solidarity at the center and coordination through effective multilateralism, were mentioned as answers to these challenges.
The increase of the CEI Cooperation Fund, to which the Ministers formally agreed, could be instrumental in this endeavour.
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