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Convention for the Strengthening of the CEI: second meeting held in Rome at Italian MFA

On the occasion of the 2nd meeting of the “Convention for the Strengthening of the Central European Initiative”, high representatives of Parliaments and Governments from all CEI countries resumed their debate, initiated in Trieste, on the further advancement of the Organisation’s main mission - especially considering the major challenges ahead as regards the European integration process.

The meeting, held in Rome on 22 April 2024 at the premises of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, provided the opportunity for a brainstorming which led to an exchange of views and proposals on how to enhance the CEI political role and strengthen relations with EU institutions. The need for reinforcing the CEI-Executive Secretariat was also tackled considering its role in providing overall support to the CEI Governmental, Parliamentary, Economic and Local Dimensions.

Moderated by CEI Secretary General Roberto Antonione, the meeting was opened by the Director General for Europe and International Trade Policy of the Italian MFA, Nicola Verola, who recalled the origins of the CEI, the main objectives achieved over the years - especially to support the EU integration process - and the need for its relaunch to respond to the current geopolitical challenges.

The President of the Foreign affairs and Defence Committee of the Italian Senate, Stefania Craxi - referring to the Balkans as cross-roads of civilizations, cultures and interests, but also as an area of instability requiring an overall and structural approach - highlighted the key role Italy played and the need to provide the CEI with a renewed political impetus for further promoting regional cooperation and sustainable development in the area.

During the debate, the participants put forward a number of ideas and suggestions for the strengthening of the CEI. The feasibility of the proposed actions was also touched upon with reference to the existing CEI structures and mechanisms having the potential to provide a solid basis for contributing to this process.

The next meeting of the Convention will focus on the consolidation of inputs in order to develop a shared political opinion and a set of recommendations for future action.

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