On June 12, 2019 the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Oleg Kravchenko, participated in the annual Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Central European Initiative (CEI) member states in Trieste, Italy. The meeting was dedicated to modern challenges and prospects for regional cooperation within CEI.
Background Information: The Central European Initiative is the largest European subregional organization created in 1989 by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia. At present, there are 17 CEI member states: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, North Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, and Ukraine. The Republic of Belarus joined the CEI in 1996 and held CEI presidency in 2017. In 2019, Italy presides in the Organization.
Speaking at the meeting, O.Kravchenko welcomed the role of the Central European Initiative as a successful driver of regional cooperation and presented the Belarusian vision of the CEI future development in the context of its’ 30th Anniversary.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus O.Kravchenko with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy Enzo Moavero Milanesi
The Deputy Minister put a special emphasis on the need to strengthen the economic dimension of the CE I.O. Kravchenko spoke out in favour of CEI support to SMEs, youth entrepreneurship and start-ups operating in the “industries of the future”.
“The CEI could coordinate multi-country economic diplomacy missions between the EU and non-EU CEI members. Why not consider creating a CEI regional financial institution to support investments?” – proposed O.Kravchenko.
The head of the Belarussian delegation also stressed the potential role of the CEI as a platform for building bridges between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union. The Deputy Minister advocated inviting companies from China and other interested third countries to contribute to projects in the CEI area.
O.Kravchenko held a range of bilateral meetings on the margins of the ministerial event with a focus on bilateral and multilateral issues.