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MFA meeting in Chisinau sets course for a more fruitful regional cooperation towards EU integration

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the CEI Member States convened in Chisinau on 22 November 2023, for their Annual Meeting under the Moldovan Presidency.

The focus of the gathering, titled Vital contribution of the EU integration process to the peace, stability, security, and prosperity in Europe and the role of the Central European Initiative in the process of the EU enlargement, highlighted the pivotal role regional cooperation plays in shaping the future of European integration.

In his opening address, Nicu Popescu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, stressed the importance of collaborative efforts among CEI Member States in bringing forward European integration and in addressing the complex challenges faced by the region and beyond.

CEI Secretary General Roberto Antonione echoed this sentiment by expressing the CEI's unwavering support for Ukraine amidst Russia's continued aggression. He underlined that, in the face of the magnitude of current challenges, it was time for a major breakthrough in EU enlargement, more optimism and collective action among all Member States, and a stronger voice for Central and Eastern European countries on the global stage through a strengthened CEI.

Crucial decisions were made during the Meeting, including the approval of the CEI Co-operation Fund budget for 2024; the Albanian CEI Presidency in 2024; the revised CEI Guidelines and Rules of Procedure; and the adoption of a joint statement reflecting the collective vision and commitments of the Member States.

The Final Statement reaffirms the support for the EU integration process of the CEI non-EU countries, all EU candidates.

This significant document - prepared to guide future collaborative endeavours - strongly condemns Russia's ongoing aggression against Ukraine. It emphasises the commitment to supporting rehabilitation projects for Ukraine and reaffirms the support for the EU integration process of the CEI non-EU countries, all EU candidates. The Statement also highlights the importance of knowledge transfer on European integration matters. Furthermore, it calls for enhanced cooperation for sustainable development within the CEI framework, addressing economic, environmental, and social challenges. 

To tackle these issues, they agreed that the new CEI Plan of Action would provide the necessary strategic guidance, and thus endorsed the document. Last but not least, with the aim to further strengthen the CEI, the Ministers took into consideration the proposal to establish a Convention for the Strengthening of the Central European Initiative.

In concluding remarks, the Ministers expressed satisfaction with the proactive approach of the CEI-Executive Secretariat, extended gratitude to the Moldovan CEI Presidency and voiced full support to the Republic of Albania for its upcoming Presidency in 2024.

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