The Heads of Government of the Central European Initiative (CEI) Member States as well as high-level representatives of international and regional organisations and institutions met in Rome, at the premises of the Italian Foreign Ministry, on 19 December 2019 for their annual CEI Summit - the top political event in the framework of the Initiative marking the final phase of the Italian CEI Presidency.

The event was chaired by Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy, Giuseppe Conte, in the context of the topic “European integration, regional cooperation and business opportunities”.

In this context, Prime Ministers discussed the current challenges the region was facing, in particular with regard to the “EU Enlargement Fatigue”. They stressed that European integration was vital for strengthening the stability, prosperity and unity of the continent. Likewise, they also discussed how to boost economic integration, a complementary process to European integration, opening up to increased business opportunities and conducive to competitive market economies.

AII Secretary General, Amb. Giovanni Castellaneta was also invited to participate to the Summit 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 expressed deep disagreement and disappointment over the failure to agree on opening EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.

He assured that the AII and its Permanent Secretariat will act to continue to be an essential tool for fostering regional cooperation by further enhancing policy dialogue among the ten AII Participating Countries, continuing to support the European aspirations of the Western Balkan countries, thus representing an impetus to the enlargement and integration process.

Amb. Castellaneta further reminded participants that next tear (2020) it will be held in Ancona the 20th  Anniversary Celebrations of the AII on April 20-24.

Please find the official full statement here.

The Summit also marked the transfer of the CEI Presidency from Italy to Montenegro, effective as of 1 January 2020.

Amb. Pigliapoco attended the Central European Initiative Business and experts forum on infrastructural and multimodal connectivity as factor of development and integration which took place in Milan on November 15th, 2019. The event was organized under the Italian CEI Presidency by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in association with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport as well as by the CEI-Executive Secretariat with the support of Assolombarda.

Around 150 participants from public institutions, enterprises, banks, the European Commission and experts from CEI Member States, gathered in Milan for the Forum.

Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Paola De Micheli, highlighted that Infrastructure has a fundamental role to play in connecting Italy to Europe, and the rest of the world, and is actually an essential instrument to support the economies of all countries. […] There is an opportunity to enter into real partnerships with the CEI countries to make big investments. I am thinking in particular of the role of the Italian port and the railway connections;

The participants had the chance to analyze the development potential of land (road and railway networks) and sea connections, as well as projects for ports, strengthening economic relations and trade flows also in light of the potential development of large global land and sea trade routes. Special attention was also paid to macro-regional policies and sustainable technological solutions, transit connections as well as financial instruments for the realization of connectivity projects in the area.

The AII Roundtable on Environmental Protection on the topic "Development of joint management plans for cross-border habitats and ecosystems with particular reference to large carnivores", organized by the Serbian Ministry of Environmental Protection with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, the AII Permanent Secretariat and the EUSAIR Thematic Steering Group 3, will take place in Belgrade on December 17th 2019 (venue: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kneza Miloša Street no. 24 (room 208), Belgrade, Republic of Serbia).

The scope of the roundtable is fully aligned with the ‘EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region’ and its Action Plan and it will address the protection and preservation of terrestrial habitats and ecosystems by development of joint management plans, in particular transnational habitats and landscape elements of central importance for large carnivores. The discussion will put a focus on participating country commitments and obligations under national legislation, the EU nature protection acquis and the corresponding multilateral environmental agreements.

Please find here the draft Agenda of the Round Table..

The Union for the Mediterranean hosted the Annual Coordination Meeting of Regional Organisations on 13 November 2019, with the aim of guaranteeing the complementarity of their work and the pursue of their mutual objectives with better results and greater impacts.

Amb. Pigliapoco, AII Senior Advisor, took part of the meeting together with representatives of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the Central European Initiative (CEI), the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).

In the face of the climate emergency that is affecting the Euro-Mediterranean region, the UfM Secretariat took this opportunity to give a special focus to the identification of joint actions and initiatives in the field of Climate Action, calling for increased synergies to tackle the pressing challenges faced in the region.

Representatives from AII, CBSS, BSEC and CEI presented their current activities within their climate portfolios, and agreed, together with the UfM Secretariat, to create a network of focal points, through which synergies will be speedily identified. They further recognized the need of working together on awareness-raising and on inviting other regional organisations operating in the wider Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond to join the initiative.

The next coordination meeting will be hosted by BSEC’s Permanent International Secretariat in 2020 in Istanbul.

The AII Round Table on “The Intermodal Connections to the Hinterland within the Adriatic Ionian Region”, organized by the AII Serbian Chairmanship together with the EUSAIR Thematic Steering Group 2, will take place in Belgrade on November 20th 2019.

Please find here the Draft Agenda of the event.