Secretary-General at the Foreign Ministry Linhart: “The Central European Initiative serves an important function as a bridge between the regions of Europe.”

Meeting between the Central European Initiative (CEI) and regional as well as international organisations in Vienna

The annual meeting held between the Central European Initiative (CEI) and regional as well as international organisations in Vienna was opened by Dr. Michael Linhart, Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs at the Foreign Ministry. Prior to the meeting, the National Coordinators of the CEI States met in the Foreign Ministry’s Alois Mock-Saal to discuss the Initiative’s new Plan of Action 2017-2020, which provides for placing the main focus on topics such as sustainable economy, further development of the knowledge-based society and institutional development in the fields of migration and anti-corruption.

The CEI was established in 1989 by Austria, Italy, the former Yugoslavia and Hungary. Its current membership comprises 18 Central, Eastern and South-East European states, including ten EU Member States. This regional international organisation aims to assist its members with respect to European integration, inter alia by promoting harmonisation with EU standards and implementing small and medium-scale projects.

Following the coordinators’ meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Secretary General of the CEI, Ambassador Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri, and the Director General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, former Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Dr. Michael Spindelegger.

At the subsequent meeting between regional as well as international organisations and the CEI, Secretary-General Linhart underlined the high priority attached by Austrian foreign policy to the transformation of the Western Balkan states and the Eastern Neighbourhood States (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine are CEI members) into a region of stability and prosperity. Through stronger links and closer networking with other organisations active in the CEI Member States, activities are to be bundled and synergies created. Talks focused primarily on the topics of migration, anti-corruption, energy and connectivity. At the event, which was attended by representatives from 18 international and regional organisations, the CEI was represented by the Alternate Secretary General Ambassador Dr. Margot Klestil-Löffler. 

“By interlinking with other regional and international organisations we seek to enhance the visibility of the CEI, and by choosing Vienna as the venue for today’s event we at the same time seek to highlight the importance of this city as the seat and headquarters of international organisations and as a meeting place”, Linhart stressed.

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