On Friday, the Prime Minister Janez Janša attended the Central European Initiative (CEI) summit in Budva via an audio-video link, hosted by the Prime Minister of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapić.
The main topic of the SPS summit was the enlargement of the European Union and the strengthening of cooperation with the Eastern European CEI member states. Other current topics for the CEI include addressing current challenges related to sustainable development, international scientific cooperation, the region’s economy after the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of CEI operations within the existing financial framework.
Prime Minister Janša spoke about the importance of the integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union and about strengthening EU cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries. He emphasised the historically important unifying role of the CEI, which, given the current international challenges, has the opportunity to once again become an important forum for cooperation between the European Union and the countries on its eastern and south-eastern borders. The Prime Minister thanked the CEI for assistance, as in cooperation with the World Health Organisation it has contributed to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CEI is a regional forum that promotes cooperation and integration between the countries of Central, Western and South-Eastern Europe at the political, economic and cultural levels. The goal of the SPS is to strengthen cooperation in the field of culture, science, tourism, economic and cross-border activities, support for CEI countries that do not have yet the status of candidate states in the process of accession. The CEI is headed politically by the country holding the presidency (one-year presidency) and has an Executive Secretariat based in Trieste. The CEI has 17 members: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Northern Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.