AII Secretary General Amb. Castellaneta at CEI Summit – Zagreb, 3-4 December 2018
The Heads of Government of the Central European Initiative (CEI) Member States met in Zagreb on 3-4 December 2018 for their annual Summit - the top political event in the framework of the Initiative. Under the guidance of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, they discussed current challenges the region is facing in the context of the topic “Building Security, Boosting Economy, Enabling Prosperity”.
In this context, Heads of Government had the chance to single out their countries’ individual concerns and approaches, but also the necessary common actions aimed at cohesion and solidarity among them while addressing open issues. In a time of crucial challenges such as the migration crisis, tensions in the Balkans, risks for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a Member State, it was important to "leave the emotions behind and work together for a brighter future”, as expressed by several speakers. Indeed, the problem faced by Italy with the migrants using the Mediterranean route, and also of the Balkans with the routes crossing it, the breaking of the norms and principles of international law regarding Ukraine, but also the brain drain, climate change and so on, were all mentioned as issues requesting a joint approach trough "regional cooperation".
AII Secretary General, Amb. Giovanni Castellaneta was also invited to participate to the meeting as representative of a regional organization, clearly sharing the same objectives as the Central European Initiative, namely to facilitate the integration process and to promote economic growth and prosperity in the region through concrete cooperation activities. In this regard, AII SG highlighted how there is room for synergies and for exchanging information and experiences between our intergovernmental / multilateral initiatives, especially on new issues like migration and unaccompanied children, starting with a process of bottom-up involvement of representatives of Civil Society (Municipalities, Universities, Chambers of Commerce) that the AII has always promoted. He further acknowledged the appointment of Sen. Roberto Antonione as new Secretary General of the CEI-Executive Secretariat as of 1 January 2019 and wished him a successful mandate. Amb. Castellaneta also thanked the outgoing CEI Secretary General Amb. Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri for the excellent work carried out during his two mandates.
The gathering also witnessed the adoption of the revised CEI Guidelines and Rules of Procedure and endorsed the Interim Implementation Report 2018 of the CEI Plan of Action 2018-2020.
The meeting concluded with the formal transfer of the CEI Presidency to Italy, to be effective as of 1 January 2019. Represented by the Minister of Regional Affairs and Autonomies, Erika Stefani, Italy reiterated its further commitment and announced some of the priorities of its Presidency, i.e. connectivity, good governance and the rule of law, intercultural cooperation, science diplomacy.