On 24 January SG Roberto Antonione took part in the conference “Italy and the Western Balkans: growth and integration”, organised by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, aimed at relaunching Italy's central role in the Western Balkans, and at accelerating the EU enlargement process of the region.
The event in Trieste witnessed interventions by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani; a video message from the President of the Council of Ministers, Giorgia Meloni, as well as a speech by the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi together with many high-level Italian government and parliamentary representatives.
Thematic discussions involving Italian diplomatic representatives, several actors from the business community, financial and bank sectors, as well as associations and confederations representing sectoral companies or branches, focused on objectives, instruments and opportunities for the strengthening of the Italy - Western Balkans wider strategic partnership. Special attention was paid to the economic remit, but also to the importance of diplomacy in broader terms, including economic, parliamentary, cultural spheres. The importance of the role Italy intends to pursue in the EU for a credible and dynamic accession process with the region, which must be a priority for the EU, was also in focus.
In this very setting, SG Antonione presented the role of the CEI for the EU integration process of the region, highlighting the importance of the multilateral dimension, and the promotion of regional cooperation through its instruments and activities. He especially pointed out the important role Italy had always played in this endeavour, as a founding and active member of this Organization, as well as the country hosting the seat of its Executive Secretariat.