The CEI forum was a significant undertaking for Romania at which participants adopted a series of important documents.
By Paul Ciocoiu for Southeast European Times in Bucharest -- 17/11/09
The Bucharest summit marked the 20th anniversary of the CEI founding and the fall of communism. [Gabriel Petrescu/SETimes]
Romania, acting chairman of the 2009 Central European Initiative (CEI), hosted the group's annual meeting on Thursday (November 12th) and Friday. Attendees included participants from international financial institutions, heads of government and foreign ministers from 18 CEI states.
The Bucharest summit marked the 20th anniversary of the CEI foundation and the fall of communism. The ministerial meeting was themed "Supporting the Common European Future, Addressing the Current Challenges".
Participants, among them new Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat, discussed political and economic development and progress in Euro-Atlantic membership.
"The European perspective remains an extremely powerful instrument for the progress of reforms. Moreover, the efforts towards achieving this objective are significant steps for regional stability. But beyond the response to the progress of the Western Balkan governments, the EU must send a message of confidence to the citizens in the region," said Romanian Caretaker Prime Minister Emil Boc.
CEI Secretary-General Pietro Ercole Ago noted the organisation's significant contribution in supporting and consolidating regional political dialogue and granting assistance to the non-EU member states on their integration path.
"The CEI member states have been assisted not only politically, but also concretely, through the promotion of some collaboration projects between the EU member and non-member states," said Ago.
The summit also saw important documents finalised -- the Anniversary Statement, the Final Document, the Action Plan for 2010-2012 and the secretary-general's annual report.
CEI members include Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Ukraine and Hungary.
The CEI co-operates with international organisations and institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank, and different regional structures, such as the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, the Danube Co-operation Process and the Stability Pact.
During its chairmanship, Romania focused on the European strategy of the Danube area, a joint project with Austria. Earlier this year, in a document for the European Commission, Romania elaborated on a communitarian strategy of the Danube region throughout 2010, to ensure better consolidation of economic and social cohesion of the riparian states.
Montenegro will take over the chairmanship in January.