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Political Agenda

The CEI's Political Agenda for 2024-2026 defines the joint line of action among the Member States in bringing forward its mission, amidst the changing geopolitical landscape. In particular, the current circumstances highlight the need for enhanced European integration. Given the key role played by regional cooperation in the process, the Member States have put it as a central element of the Organisation’s  activities.

In particular with all non-EU CEI Member States currently EU candidates, the Organisation sees an opportunity to advocate ever more for EU enlargement as a means of stability and security, positioning itself as a key player in this process.

Central to its activities is also the promotion of sustainable development, as a complementary process to European integration, alongside addressing challenges such as those stemming from the war in Ukraine,  and other topical issues.


CEI Activities for Ukraine

Addressing the aftermath of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has been pivotal. This conflict has inflicted severe humanitarian suffering on the country and its citizens, and caused widespread economic repercussions globally. Early on, the CEI swiftly condemned Russian aggression, suspended Belarus, and provided ongoing aid to Ukraine through financial channels. Looking ahead, the CEI pledges to continue its support through political and financial avenues, striving for a just and lasting peace.

Specifically, the CEI plans to continue supporting initiatives for Ukraine in various ways, including for example for healthcare, connectivity, digitalization. It will also continue supporting initiatives to cope with the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine for the region in general in various sectors. READ MORE

Intensifying policy dialogue on issues of strategic importance

The CEI emphasises policy dialogue as its primary tool for furthering its mission – European integration and sustainable development, while also addressing regional challenges. Within its core pillar, i.e. the Governmental Dimension, high-level structures provide guidelines and prompt responses. Sectorial ministerial meetings complement dialogue. Efforts are made to enhance coordination between political dialogue and project-oriented activities. The annual work programme, guided by the Presidency and CEI Executive Secretariat (CEI - ES) (link), aligns with the Plan of Action (PoA) and ensures continuity with the previous and future Presidencies.

The Parliamentary Dimension promotes cooperation among parliaments. Economic Dimension activities serve to support economic development, emphasising economic dialogue and cooperation, particularly through the Economic Forum.

Additionally, the CEI Local Dimension is deemed crucial for addressing emerging challenges in democratic participation and civic life, and its potential institutionalization is considered. Efforts also focus on advancing the CEI Youth Agenda to provide perspectives for young people, streamlining youth activities in line with objectives.

Increasing project cooperation

Amidst complex challenges, there is a need for increased project cooperation in the CEI framework, requiring both funding and deep knowledge of the issues at hand. The CEI aims to stimulate project cooperation, leveraging in particular its funds, programmes and instruments: Co-operation Fund, the Know-how Exchange Programme, the Technical Cooperation Programme, and EU-funded projects

In terms of funding, the CEI secures additional resources from the EU, international financial institutions, and other sources, bolstering project implementation for Member States' mutual benefit.
By promoting projects, particularly for non-EU Member States, the CEI delivers tangible benefits, also emphasising practical value, untapped partnerships, and international expertise.

Fostering strategic partnerships for common goals

Fostering strategic partnerships is crucial for expanding CEI activities and enhancing regional cooperation, thus strengthening multilateralism. The CEI is dedicated to collaborating with international and regional actors who share goals of European integration and sustainable development. This includes prioritising cooperation with the EU, leveraging its experience in supporting countries in the enlargement process. Additionally, the CEI actively engages with the UN, thanks to its Observer Status in UN General Assembly, and its specialised agencies, particularly WHO, in areas such health and well-being, as evidenced by the "Roadmap for Health and Well-being in the Western Balkans 2021-2025." Institutional ties with the EBRD remain vital, while collaboration with the OSCE and the Council of Europe is ongoing. Efforts to enhance synergies with other regional organisations is also prioritised to address key areas in European integration and sustainable development.

Advancing multistakeholder approach in CEI activities

The CEI emphasises the importance of a multistakeholder approach in its activities, aiming to involve not only governments but also various public and private actors, local communities, academia, and civil society.  This inclusive approach fosters regional cooperation by facilitating dialogue and collaboration between decision-makers and non-state actors, thereby building trust and relationships among different stakeholders.  

The CEI Co-operation Fund in particular supports activities instrumental to this approach, and the organisation's involvement in EU-funded projects has helped establish a broad network of over 250 stakeholders across the CEI region and beyond. The CEI Know-how Exchange Programme and Technical Cooperation Programme, financed out of the CEI Fund at the EBRD, also support this endavour. The CEI will continue to utilise project activities as a powerful tool for advancing its multistakeholder approach.

Consolidating CEI-Executive Secretariat to effectively address needs of membership

The CEI-Executive Secretariat (CEI-ES) was established in 1996 with the aim of efficiently addressing the needs of its membership while maintaining a lean structure. Over the years, it has provided administrative support and conceptual assistance to CEI structures, facilitating day-to-day operations and promoting the Organisation's mission.
The CEI-ES plays a crucial role in operationalising political decisions through dialogues, follow-up activities, and initiatives to foster cooperation in the region. It also designs and implements CEI programmes and projects, increasingly assuming the role of a project developer, particularly with EU-funded projects. Moreover, it develops interactions and synergies with strategic partners and stakeholders.

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