CEI-Executive Secretariat

The CEI-Executive Secretariat (CEI-ES) was established in Trieste under the Austrian CEI Presidency in 1996.

It operates with the legal status of an International Organisation, based on a Headquarters Agreement concluded between the Italian Government and the CEI Presidency.

The CEI-ES provides administrative and conceptual support to the CEI three-pillar system (Governmental, Parliamentary and Economic Dimensions). It also manages its funds and instruments and takes appropriate initiatives aimed at promoting the realisation of the Organisation's mission.

The seat in Trieste, via Genova 9, was made available to the CEI by the Italian Government through the Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region, free of charge and ties, under terms described in a Protocol concluded between the CEI Secretariat and the Region.

Since its establishment, the CEI-ES was headed by Ambassador Paul Hartig (Austria) from 1996 to 2001; Ambassador Harald Kreid (Austria) from 2002 to 2007; Ambassador Pietro Ercole Ago (Italy) from 2008 to 2009; Ambassador Gerhard Pfanzelter (Austria) from 2010 to 2012. Ambassador Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri (Italy) from 2013 to 2018. As of January 2019 the Secretary General is Mr. Roberto Antonione.

Secretary General, Roberto Antonione

Mr. Roberto Antonione was appointed Secretary General as of January 2019 after having held the post of CEI Chief Operating Officer in 2018 and Special Advisor to the CEI Secretary General since 2015. Having graduated in medicine and surgery at the University of Milan he was in private practice as a dentist until 2001.  

From 2001-2006 he was Senator of the Italian Republic (XIV Legislature), undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Europe and Representative of Italy at the signing of the 2003 Treaty of Rome. He was also awarded full powers for the official signature on behalf of Italy of the EU Accession Treaties of the Republics of Bulgaria and Romania.

From 2006-2008 he was Senator of the Republic (XV Legislature) as well as Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Group and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. From 2008-2013 he acted as Member of the Chamber of Deputies XVI Legislature, Group leader of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of the Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe. He was also elected Head of the Italian Delegation to the Central European Initiative Parliamentary Assembly and acted as President of the International Expert Group for the reform of the CEI (2010).

Alternate Secretary General


Deputy Secretary General, Nina Kodelja

Ms. Nina Kodelja started her assignment as CEI Deputy Secretary General on 1 January 2019, coming from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia.

She has diplomatic experience in various foreign policy areas – in regional policies (former Stability pact for South Eastern Europe), as well as experience of the Slovene accession to the EU. She has dealt with various aspects of EU affairs in general, and has had broad cabinet experience as counsellor of the minister of foreign affairs. She served in Slovene representations abroad, both in bilateral embassies, namely Rome (2005-2011), as well as Madrid (Presidency of Spain of the Council of EU 2002). From 2011 to 2015 she worked for the European External Action Service (EEAS), dealing with foreign policy issues within the EEAS chair/presidency of the Political and Security Committee of the EU.

Before her assignment as CEI Deputy Secretary General, she was heading the Department for General and Institutional EU Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, following key EU institutional issues such as preparation of European Councils, Brexit, negotiations of the next EU's multiannual financial framework etc. Before this experience, from 2015 to 2017, she was Head of the Department for Emerging Challenges and Threats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, following global issues and threats such as climate change, terrorism and radicalisation etc.  

She studied International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Trieste and is a career diplomat.

Deputy Secretary General, Zoran Jovanovic

Mr. Zoran Jovanovic started his assignment as Deputy Secretary General in March 2019. Coming from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, he was Head of the NATO and Partnership for Peace Department.

He had already served the CEI as Deputy Secretary General from 2011 to 2013 and after that he was CEI National Coordinator for Serbia while also acting as Rapporteur for EU Negotiation Chapter 30 (2014-2015). He then acted as Minister Council at the Office of the Foreign Minister (2015-2017). He was also Counsellor and Minister Counsellor in the Department for Neighbouring and SEE Countries from 2007-2009 and 2013-2014 respectively.

During his earlier years he acted as Head of Department for Regional Initiatives (2009-2011); First Secretary for Economic and Consular Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Tirana (2003-2007) and First Secretary, Department for Economic Bilateral Relations (2002-2003).