Cooperation within the framework of the Central European Initiative (CEI)
The Central European Initiative (CEI) is the intergovernmental grouping of the countries of the East and Central Europe, which activities aimed at establishing of multilevel cooperation in the political, economic and social, scientific and cultural areas and promoting on this basis the strengthening of stability and security in the region. The Initiative comprises twelve Participating States: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
Its origin lies in the creation of the “Quadrangolare” in Budapest on 11 November 1989, the founding fathers of which were Austria, Hungary, Italy and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. A number of new countries were admitted in 1992, at which time it was decided to rename the grouping the Central European Initiative. The CEI Secretariat is located in Trieste (Italy).
All the CEI activities are carring out at three levels: Heads of Government, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and National Coordinators of the Participating States.
The CEI is looking for opportunities to play a more prominent role as a regional international organization, one of the priorities of which is full promotion of its Participating States interests on the way to the accession to the European Union. The CEI cooperates actively with the other European regional organizations such as the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, the Regional Cooperation Council, the BSEC, Council of the Baltic Sea States and others.
In the implementation of its objectives the CEI benefits from the support of parliamentarians and businessmen of its Participating States through specially formed structures. They are, respectively, the CEI Parliamentary Dimension and the Initiative of the Central European Chambers of commerce. These structures are not the CEI integral institutions and are acting independently, making the overall coordination through the Secretariat of CEI.
Ukraine started contacts with the CEI in 1992 by participating in the activities of several Working groups of the Initiative. On March 1994 the country obtained the status of a Participating State of the CEI Associated Council, and on 31May 1996 acquired the Full Participating State status.
Ukraine considers the CEI as an important mechanism for integration into the European economic and political space, as well as strengthening regional stability and further development of comprehensive relations between the Initiative Participating States. The Ukrainian Representatives are participating in the CEI expert networks in such fields as: cross-border cooperation, transport, energy, science and technology. The activities aimed at enhancing the participation of the Ukrainian enterprises and organizations in realization of projects of cooperation within the framework of the Initiative are carring out on an ongoing basis.
The cooperation between Ukraine and the CEI during 2013 was carried out in the "Troika" format, which also included Hungary and Austria. Ukraine's participation in the "Troika" was exercised, particularly through the preparation for the CEI Action Plan 2014-2016, which was supported by the CEI Ministers of Foreign Affairs during their Annual meeting on the theme "The CEI Mission on the eve of its 25th anniversary" (on 10 December 2013, Gedelle, Hungary).
The Action Plan aimed at promotion of the CEI economic development and the EU enlargement process, in accordance with the provisions of the EU Strategy by 2020, the strengthening of regional cooperation and cooperation with the EU Member States, providing priority support from founds and structures of the Initiative to implement projects for not EU Member States and further European integration of this group of countries.
Special importance given to the course on economization of the CEI activities was supported, particularly by the decision of the mentioned Ministerial meeting on the restoring of the business dimension of the Initiative efforts.
The Initiative also developed its inter-parliamentary relations through the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine aimed at ensuring the participation of the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation in the CEI Parliamentary Assembly meeting, held on 24-26 September 2013in Budapest.