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Central European Initiative

The Central European Initiative was founded in 1989 to develop stable relationships between the countries of Central, Western, and Eastern Europe in politics, economy and culture, and to prevent new dividing lines in Europe. In the late 1990s, facilitation of the European integration and closer relations between the EU and non-EU European countries was defined as the CEI core objective.

The CEI consists of 17 member states: Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czechia, Hungary, Italy, North Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Croatia and Montenegro (Austria left the CEI in 2018).

The Republic of Belarus became the member of the CEI in June 1996. Belarus considers the CEI an effective tool for expansion and strengthening the regional cooperation through implementation of joint projects on energy efficiency, sustainable development, ecology, science and technology.

Belarus takes an active part in CEI annual events, such as meetings of the heads of government and ministers of foreign affairs, national coordinators, and political directors of the participating countries. Belarusian MPs regularly participate in sessions of the CEI Parliamentary Committee and Parliamentary Assembly.

In 2004, the Belarusian State University joined the CEI University Network founded on the basis of the University of Trieste (Italy).

In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus signed an agreement with the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Trieste). The agreement laid the ground for creation of a center for cooperation with the CEI on the premises of the nonlinear optics laboratory of the Institute of Physics of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences under the CEI Science and Technology Network.

In 2017, the Republic of Belarus assumed the rotating Presidency of the Central European Initiative. Belarus chose “Promoting connectivity in a Wider Europe” as the main theme of its' Presidency that is in line with distinctive features of the CEI and interests of all member countries. 

Belarusian state bodies and organizations participate in the CEI project activities in the areas of energy, transport and logistics, environment protection, education, science, technology, innovation, small and medium-sized businesses, etc.

CEI membership facilitates distribution of information about the Belarusian state and society in Europe, and helps Belarus receive financial and expert assistance under targeted cooperation projects, contributing to gradual harmonization of the national norms and technical standards with those of the European Union.

In 2022, Bulgaria assumed the presidency of the CEI.

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