30 years of cooperation within the Central European Initiative framework
“We strongly support keeping the EU enlargement to include the Western Balkans high on the political agenda,” said Deputy Minister Paweł Jabłoński during the meeting. At the same time, he stressed that reforms in Albania and North Macedonia should be continued, despite the European Council’s recent disappointing decisions regarding these two countries. “I hope that reflecting on the effectiveness of EU enlargement policy will not delay opening negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia,” he added. The deputy head of the Polish MFA also applauded the CEI’s contribution to the process of European integration, as its overarching objective was to support its members in their efforts to join the EU.
During the meeting in Rome, Deputy Minister Jabłoński also mentioned the Eastern Partnership project, stressing that it remains the only comprehensive approach of the entire EU to its eastern neighbours. Talking about the 10th anniversary of launching this initiative, the deputy head of Polish diplomacy said that the EaP is one of the most successful initiatives of the EU’s foreign policy. “We believe that it is of vital importance to keep the Eastern Partnership policy high on the EU agenda over the next decade, because it offers partner countries covered by the initiative the opportunity to cooperate closely with the EU and – in a broader perspective – with the western world of values,” stressed the minister.
Another important topic of discussion were the prospects for developing economic cooperation among CEI members. In this context, Deputy Minister Jabłoński emphasised that strengthening the economic potential of CEI members will require ensuring optimal infrastructure connectivity. He also said that the existing transport infrastructure poses a significant challenge to most CEI member states. “Poland stands ready to – in cooperation with other EU member states belonging to the CEI – develop measures to improve energy, transport, and communication infrastructure connectivity,” stressed the deputy chief of the Polish MFA. He added that these measures are also deeply rooted in all pillars of the Three Seas Initiative.
This year’s CEI summit was held in Rome and brought together representatives of 17 Central, Eastern, and South-East European countries belonging to this initiative. The chairmanship of the CEI rotates annually, and during the summit it was officially taken over by Montenegro, which will steer the work of the CEI from 1 January 2020.
The Central European Initiative (CEI) is an institutionalised form of cooperation of Central and South-East European countries. It stems from the Quadragonale initiative that was launched in November 1989 in Budapest by Austria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Italy. After Czechoslovakia joined the initiative in 1990, it was renamed Pentagonale, and when Poland joined in – Hexagonale. It has been operating as the Central European Initiative since March 1992. The CEI Executive Secretariat is located in Trieste.
MFA Press Office